Cancer affects millions of people all over the world every year. Cancer can be of different types, but one of the most painful ones is cancer of the bone. Bone cancer can be primary or secondary and is caused by the growth of tumours – benign or malignant - in the bone tissue. A benign tumour does not spread and does not affect bone tissue. When a malignant tumour originates in the bone itself, it is called primary bone cancer and this form of cancer is pretty rare.
If the cancer forms in other parts of the body - such as the breast, lungs or liver – and spreads or metastasizes to the bone, then it is referred to as secondary or metastasized bone cancer. Life expectancy secondary bone cancer depends on a number of factors and the most common of these are as follows:
- Overall physical health.
- How far the cancer has spread.
- When the cancer was detected.
- How long has the patient had symptoms.
- The duration of the treatment.
- The patients resistance to the side effects of the treatment.
- The type of treatment received.
Needless to say, a physically and mentally strong person will have a better life expectancy with secondary bone cancer. The different treatments available for bone cancer are:
- Cryosurgery (use of liquid nitrogen for killing the cancer cells).
The life expectancy of secondary bone cancer will also depend on how many cancerous cells can be removed by surgery, and the amount of cancerous cells that can be killed by radiation and chemotherapy cycles.
Regular check-ups will have a strong bearing on the life expectancy of secondary bone cancer patients. This is because the bone cancer can metastasize to other cells, such as in the breast or prostate - or it can return to other bones.
Doctors can sometimes tell if a particular bone cancer can be cured, but it is not possible to be always certain. Even for incurable cases, they will usually suggest treatments which will ease suffering, control the symptoms and hopefully prolong life. For some patients, these can be very successful and may keep the tumour in check for many months or even years.
The statistics for the survival rate of bone cancer patients vary according to the type and stage of cancer. But these statistics mostly refer to patients who have survived for five years after the diagnosis of the disease. A few years ago, this percentage was at 70. Now, depending on the age, sex and race of the patient, the percentage ranges between 68 and 85. However, at the final stage - or stage 4 - of bone cancer, the five year survival rate drops to between 19 and 49 per cent.
But statistics are statistics, and there are exceptions to every rule. It is important to remember that every case of bone cancer is unique and the mental attitude, willpower and positive thinking of a patient, especially a patient of advanced stage of bone cancer, will go a long way towards increasing their life expectancy after secondary bone cancer or even beating it.
Read more articles on Bone Cancer.