Among all cancer types, bone cancer is believed to be the rare one. It can affect any bone in the body. Bone cancer develops from the tumours of surrounding organs such as lungs, breast, prostate etc. The two common types of bone cancer are multiple myelomas and bone sarcomas; multiple myelomas is more common than bone sarcomas.
All the bone cancer may not be malignant (cancerous). Benign (non-cancerous) bone tumours are commonly seen. Primary bone cancer develops in the bone tissue. They spread to the bone from other organs that are affected by cancer.
Pain in the bone is the most common symptom of bone cancer, there can be swelling in the bone or near the surrounding tissue of the bone. The symptoms can also present for other bone conditions as well, therefore, consult the doctor if any of the symptoms are experienced.
There is no clear evidence from where the cancer is caused. But certain factors increases the risk of developing bone tumours.
Osteosarcoma is a common type of bone cancer diagnosed in children, it is caused by exposure to high dosed external radiations. It can is caused by the treatment with anti-cancer drugs.
bone cancer is also caused by heredity, metal implants used for fracture repairs can also be the cause for bone cancer. Children born with an umbilical hernia, people with Paget’s disease, retinoblastoma are more susceptible to bone cancer.
There are numerous factors that contribute to the development of bone cancer, which include:
- Exposure to carcinogens
- Advanced age (over 65)
- Exposure to radiations
- Genetic factors
The following diagnostic procedures are performed for studying the presence of cancer in the bone tissue:
Bone scan: This procedure is used to scan the abnormal areas in the bone. A radioactive material is injected into the veins which collect in the bone. The scanner then scans the areas that are affected by cancer.
CT scan (computer tomography):CT scan is used to understand the metastasis of cancer to the surrounding tissues.
MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging):This procedure gives the detained images of the target tissue in the bone.
X-ray: X-ray is used for detecting the damaged bone area due to cancer. X-ray gives the doctor an idea if any tests are required further.
PET scan (Positron emission tomography): This procedure produces 3-D colored images of the target area with the use of nuclear medicine.
Bone biopsy: Biopsy is recommended by the doctor to confirm the cancer diagnosis, for this a sample of bone tissue is extracted and examined under a microscope.
Core needle biopsy: A long and thin needle is inserted into the bone for removing the sample.
Open needle biopsy: An incision is made in the target bone surgically for removing the tissue sample.
The treatment options for bone cancer are based on the size, location and extent of the spread of cancer, which includes:
Surgery:Surgery always remains the main stay of cancer treatment. The cancer cells are removed in such a way that there are no remnants of cancer cells in the edges or margins of the tissue. Care is taken to minimize the unwanted removal of healthy nearby cells.
Chemotherapy: chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer drugs that destroys the cancer cells. These anti-cancer drugs are given in combination for the better results. The drawback of chemotherapy is, chondrosarcoma cannot be treated with chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiations to destroy the cancer cells. This procedure is best for treating chondrosarcoma. Sometimes radiation therapy is performed in combination with a surgical approach.
Cryosurgery:this procedure uses extreme cold produced by liquid nitrogen to destroy the cancer cells. This technique is best suitable for external tumours. However, it is used as a conventional treatment to kill the tumour cells.
Coping and support
Being diagnosed with cancer can have gross effect on your life and the lives of your beloved ones around you. Gathering the information on the best treatment strategies and leading the best out of life can help live with positivity. Following the treatment and self-management tips would make you live in a positive sense.