Bone cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the bone. Bone cancer can occur in any bone in the body, but it most commonly affects the long bones of the arms and legs. Bone cancer can also affect the ribs, hips, and skull. Although bone cancer is relatively rare, it is more common in children than adults.
Bone Cancer Treatment in Tucson, AZ
What is Bone Cancer?
Bone cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the bones. The most common type of bone cancer is osteosarcoma, which typically affects the long bones of the arms and legs. Other types of bone cancer include chondrosarcoma, which arises in the cartilage-forming cells, and Ewing sarcoma, which begins in the small, round cells that are found in the bones.
While bone cancer is relatively rare, it can be very aggressive, spreading quickly to other parts of the body. Treatment typically involves surgery to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. With treatment, many people with bone cancer can achieve remission, but the disease can be difficult to cure. As a result, ongoing research is critical to finding new and more effective ways to treat this disease.
Types of Bone Cancer
Primary bone cancer, which is also called a bone sarcoma, starts in the bones. (Sarcomas are cancers that originate from various tissues such as muscles, fibrous tissue, blood vessels and fat tissue.)
There are many types of primary bone cancer with some being more rare than others.
- Osteosarcoma – The most frequent primary bone tumor is osteosarcoma (also known as osteogenic sarcoma). It starts with an early type of bone cells. Osteosarcomas most commonly occur in people between the ages of 10 and 30, although about one in 10 developers in persons over 60.
- Ewing tumor – Ewing tumors are a rare form of primary bone cancer that affects children, adolescents, and young adults. They’re the third most common kind of bone cancer overall, though they’re quite uncommon in people above the age of 30. They are more prevalent among white individuals than among African Americans or Asian Americans.
- Fibrosarcoma – Another type of cancer that is more common in soft tissues than bones is fibrosarcoma. It mostly affects middle-aged people. The bones in the legs, arms, and jaw are most often afflicted.
- Giant cell tumor of bone – The majority of bone tumors that form giant cells are benign. The most frequent locations for giant cell bone tumors are the legs (usually around the knees) and arms. They seldom spread beyond their original location after surgery, but they can return in the same spot (even more than once).
What are the symptoms of Bone Cancer?
Long bones of the legs or upper arms are most commonly affected by bone cancer.
The primary symptoms are:
- Sharp, worsening pain in the bones that stays night and day
- swelling and redness (inflammation) over a bone, which can make movement difficult if the affected bone is near a joint
- A lump that can be felt over a bone
- A weak bone that fractures (breaks) more readily than usual
- Problems with mobility—for example, a limp while walking.
If your child or you are experiencing persistent, severe, or worsening bone pain, see a GP. Although it’s extremely unlikely to be bone cancer, it is worth exploring further.
How is Bone cancer diagnosed?
Before treating bone cancer, your healthcare provider will often use X-rays to obtain images of your bones. To get more detailed images of the areas surrounding the bones, MRI and CT scans are usually ordered.
A healthcare provider will biopsy a small piece of tissue from the bone to confirm their cancer diagnosis. This specific information about the cancer, including where it formed, helps providers know which treatment will work best.
There are four stages of Bone cancer:
There are four stages of primary bone cancer, which is determined by the size and location of the tumor as well as if cancer has spread to other areas.
Stage I: The tumor is slow-growing, and the cancer cells have not spread.
Stage II: Although the cancer cells have not spread, the tumor is high-grade.
Stage III: The tumor is aggressive and has spread to other parts of the bone.
Stage IV: Cancer had spread throughout the body, including to the lungs and liver.
What are the treatments for Bone cancer?
Treatment for bone cancer is determined by the kind of disease, whether it has grown and, if so, where. People who have bone cancer frequently collaborate with a team of healthcare providers to treat the problem. This group consists of oncologists (cancer specialists) and radiation oncologists (specialists in bones and joints).
The goal of bone cancer therapy is to reduce or eliminate the affected area. The treatment plan for bone cancer varies based on a variety of criteria, including the type of bone malignancy, the tumor’s size and whether it has spread throughout the body. The following are some of the most common treatments:
- Surgery : During surgery, your surgeon will remove the tumor as well as some surrounding healthy tissue. They may also opt to rebuild any affected bones with artificial or real bone grafts. If cancer has spread to an entire limb, that limb must be removed; however, a prosthetic can be used in its place. It’s not uncommon for patients to require repeat surgery if all of the cancer cells were not destroyed during the first operation.
- Radiation therapy: This treatment uses high doses of X-rays to shrink tumors. Healthcare providers often use radiation before surgery to reduce the size of the tumor so that less tissue has to be removed.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses medicine to kill cancer cells throughout the body. People usually receive this medicine by swallowing a pill or having it injected into a vein. Your provider can use chemotherapy to treat primary bone cancers or bone cancers that have spread.
What are the side effects of Bone cancer treatment?
Learning about the potential side effects of your cancer treatment(s) can help you mentally prepare for them. It is also easier to manage symptoms and adverse reactions when you are knowledgeable about what to expect. There are many medications available to address common chemotherapy side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and mouth sores. In addition, newer targeted therapies often cause fewer traditional side effects than older treatments.
- Radiation therapy – External radiation therapy can cause skin rashes, nausea and vomiting, gastroenteritis, tiredness, sore mouth and throat sores, and dry mouth or thick saliva. The majority of side effects from radiation are short-term, although some quite serious long-term effects might occur. Radiation to the chest may also result in lung damage that causes breathing difficulties and shortness of breath.
- Chemotherapy – The side effects of chemotherapy differ based on the type of drug, dosage, and length of time taking it. Chemotherapy is often part Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma treatment but not as frequently for other bone cancers.
What is the role of radiation therapy in Bone Cancer?
Radiation therapy can be used in various situations, including:
- If cancer cells are discovered in the margins (margins) of the tissue that has been removed, it’s likely not clear that all of the malignancy was eliminated during surgery (for example, if cancer cells were found in the edges (margins) of the excised tissue). This is done to see whether any cancer cells survived.
- Instead of surgical excision (potentially in combination with other therapies) for bone cancers that cannot be fully removed (surgically excised). It may assist in tumor inhibition and symptom management, including pain and edema.
What is the prognosis for someone with Bone cancer?
Bone cancer is typically successfully treated. Cancer never recurs in these situations. People with bone cancer sometimes need numerous operations to achieve this result. Other bone cancer patients may require therapy such as radiation and chemotherapy to keep the disease at bay. To limit the spread of cancer, these treatments might be required to continue indefinitely.
It is essential to stay in communication with your healthcare provider and schedule regular appointments to check for any signs of cancer recurrence or spread. The earlier a recurrence is caught, the sooner you can begin receiving treatment.
Risk Factors for Bone Cancer
While the majority of bone cancers don’t have an associated risk factor, there are a few that do.
- Older age: Chondrosarcomas are a rare form of cancer that affects bones. Although they can occur in both younger and older individuals, most chondrosarcomas originate in people over the age of 60.
- Benign bone tumors: Some non-cancerous bone tumors can lead to a higher risk of developing chondrosarcoma. For example, enchondroma is a type of harmless cartilage growth that usually appears in the middle of bones. Although these types of tumors rarely turn into cancer, people who have multiple enchondromas (a condition where someone has numerous Growth) are more likely to develop chondrosarcoma. In some cases, this disorder is connected withIDH1 and IDH2 genes passed down from family members.
- Exostoses (also known as multiple osteochondromas): is a hereditary disease that causes someone to have many benign bone tumors called osteochondromas, which are generally composed of cartilage. These malignant growths can be uncomfortable and cause deformed or fractured bones. Each tumor has a small chance of progressing into a chondrosarcoma. This illness is most often associated with inherited changes (mutations) in either the EXT1 or EXT2 gene.
- Tuberous sclerosis: is an inherited condition caused by a mutation (mutation) in either the TSC1 or TSC2 gene. Patients with tuberous sclerosis, an illness caused by a genetic fault (mutation) in either the TSC1 or TSC2 gene, appear to have a higher risk of chordoma during childhood, although this appears to be uncommon overall.
- Paget disease of bone: This common condition mostly affects older people. It occurs when an area of bone becomes more active than normal, which can result in abnormal bone that is more likely to fracture. People with this condition have a small chance of developing tumors in these areas. Most often it is an osteosarcoma, but it can also be a less common type of tumor, such as giant cell tumor of the bone.
- Previous radiation therapy: A slightly higher chance of developing bone cancer in the region that was treated accompanies people who have received radiation therapy (usually to treat another type of cancer). The chance is greater for individuals who were treated when they were younger (especially as children) and those who received greater doses of radiation.
How can you reduce your risk of getting Bone cancer?
The primary known risk factors for bone cancer, such as age and existing bone diseases or inherited conditions, cannot be altered. With the exception of exposure to radiation (common during radiation therapy), there are no current lifestyle-related or environmental causes of bone cancer that we know of. So right now, there is no way to protect oneself from most types of this cancer.
We are here to help
A cancer diagnosis is daunting, but you can take comfort in knowing that our talented staff will be with you every step of the way. No two patients are alike, so we’ll partner with you to create a treatment plan that fits your individual needs.
We can assist you through this trying period with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of treatments. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to support you during this tough time.