Whilst there are many reported cases of bone tumours, most are not deemed as being cancerous and don’t have any real impact on bone tissue. Take a look at some facts about bone cancer that you should know.
Causes of bone cancer
- An unequivocal answer to this is not known; however, it is speculated that defective DNA – which can be inherited – is a realistic explanation. Other research points to how certain DNA changes – exposure to critical environmental factors such as radiation or toxic chemicals – can trigger it.
- Metastatic bone cancer is caused by other forms of cancer proliferating through the body and affecting the bone, where it forms a tumour. It’s not specifically bone cancer, but rather breast or lung cancer which has “metastasized” itself in the bones.
Types of bones cancer
- The specific type of bone cancer depends on the type of bone tissue it originates in, i.e. osteoid or cartilaginous tissues, or the bone marrow.
- The National Cancer Institute details that osteosarcoma originates in osteoid tissue and is typically found in the arms and knees.
- Chondrosarcoma usually develops in the cartilaginous tissue of the pelvis, hip and shoulder joints and the upper leg.
- Ewing’s sarcoma – which typically develops in the arms, legs, pelvis or backbone – is found in other bone tissues such as fat, blood vessels and muscles.
Stages of bone cancer
- A biopsy resolves that the bone cancer isn’t an aggressive case; it hasn’t spread to other areas of the body, instead remaining in the bone tissue.
- Whilst it is still in the bone tissue, it is an aggressive form of bone cancer, and it will spread in time.
- The cancer has spread to other tissues in the bone.
- It has spread to other parts of the body.
Treatment for bone caner
Once the cancer has been diagnosed and staged, the consultant will assess which is the best course of treatment to recommend.
- Surgery: The ACS reports that surgery is the lost likely action, which involves removing the bone tissue where the tumour resides. It may be the case that the surgeon needs to remove the bone – or part thereof - if the cancer has spread sufficiently to merit such a decision.
- Chemotherapy: This treatment is common when eradicating Ewing’s sarcoma or osteosarcoma, where certain antineoplastic drugs are injected into the body, charged with killing the cancerous cells.
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