How Do You Know if You Have Bone Cancer?12 Interesting Guide To Know

An uncommon kind of cancer that starts in the bones is primary bone cancer.1 This is not to be confused with secondary bone cancer, which occurs when cancer spreads to the bones from another region of the body. So, how do you know if you have bone cancer or not?

Bone cancer occurs when abnormal cells in your bone grow out of control. Normal bone tissue is destroyed. It might originate in your bone or spread from elsewhere in your body (called metastasis2).

Cancer that originates in the cells of the bones is called primary bone cancer. This kind of bone cancer is distinct from secondary bone cancers, also known as metastatic bone cancer3, which originates in another part of the body and then travels to the bones.

Bone cancer symptoms will change based on the extent of the disease and the location of the tumour inside the body.

Bone cancer is an uncommon disease. The majority of bone tumours are benign, meaning they are not cancerous and do not spread to other parts of the body. However, they may weaken your bones, resulting in fractured bones or other issues.

1. What Is Bone Cancer, Exactly?

The phrase “bone cancer” refers to a variety of malignancies that grow in the bones. Normal bone tissue may be harmed when cancer cells develop in a bone. The kind of bone cancer depends on the type of cell and tissue where it starts.

Tumours that originate in the bone itself are also referred to as primary bone malignancies. Many cancers that start in the organs or other body components may spread to the bones and other body parts. Secondary or metastatic bone cancers are the term for these growths. Breast, prostate, and lung cancers are the most likely to spread to the bones.

2. What Is the Prevalence of Bone Cancer?

Bone pain and tumours are uncommon. In the United States, they account for fewer than 1% of all malignancies. Children, teens, and young adults are more likely than older ones to develop them.

3. When Does Bone Cancer Often Begin?

Cancer that originates in the bones, also known as primary bone cancer or bone sarcoma, is a malignant tumour. The experts aren’t certain what causes it, although genes might play a part in the process.

Primary bone cancer is an extremely uncommon kind of cancer that manifests itself first in the bones. In the United Kingdom, around 550 new cases of primary bone cancer are identified each year.

4. Primary Bone Cancers That Are Diagnosed Most Frequently Are

4.1. Osteosarcoma:

Osteosarcoma4 is the most frequent kind of bone cancer that arises in the cells that generate new bone tissue. It may begin in any bone, although it most often starts near the ends of major bones like the arms and legs. Osteosarcoma is most typically diagnosed in adolescents and teens.

4.2. Sarcoma Ewing:

Ewing sarcoma is a form of bone cancer named after the doctor who originally reported it. It encompasses a variety of tumours with similar characteristics and is thought to start in the same cells.

These tumours may develop in the bones as well as the soft tissues around them. Ewing sarcoma usually develops in the hips, ribs, shoulder blades, and long bones like the legs and shoulder blades.

4.3. Chondrosarcoma:

The beginnings of chondrosarcoma 5may be found in cartilage tissue. Cartilage is a kind of connective tissue that is soft and pliable, and it gives bones and joints their mobility. When calcium is added to cartilage in the body, part of it is converted into a substance that makes worsening bone pain.

This cancer often starts in the bones of the arm, leg, or pelvis and spreads from there. In contrast to osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma, chondrosarcoma is more prevalent in adults than it is in younger patients.

4.4. Chordoma:

This uncommon tumour starts in the spine’s bones, generally near the base of the spine or the base of the skull. Chordoma, like chondrosarcoma, is more common in elderly people. This kind of bone cancer is more common in males than in women.

5. Secondary Bone Cancer

Cancer that spreads to your bones almost often begins in another part of your body. As an example, secondary bone cancer would be the result of lung cancer that has gone to the bones. The term “metastatic cancer” refers to any kind of cancer that has spread from one location in your body to another.

The following types of cancers often spread to the bone:

  • Cancer of the breast
  • Prostate cancer
  • Cancer of the lungs

6. What Causes Cancer of the Bones?

How Do You Know if You Have Bone Cancer
photo by Angela Roma / pexels

Although experts are unsure what causes bone cancer, they have discovered correlations between the disease and other variables. The most critical cause is radiation or medication exposure while undergoing treatment for other malignancies.

It is possible that you will not notice any Bone Cancer Symptoms, regardless of whether or not you have cancer. Your doctor may see it when reviewing an X-ray of another issue, like a sprained ankle, for example. There is no clear explanation as to why a person develops bone cancer.

7. Can a Malignant Bone Tumour Turn Benign?

Yes, but it’s unusual. Even yet, persons with benign bone tumours may need therapy to avoid complications such as weak bones, joint difficulties, and bone tissue degeneration.

8. How Do You Know if You Have Bone Cancer?

Your healthcare professional will most likely utilize X-rays to see pictures of your bones to identify bone cancer. CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans offer more comprehensive views of the regions surrounding the bones and are frequently performed before any therapy.

A biopsy is a procedure in which a tiny bit of tissue is taken from the bone tumour and inspected under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis. A biopsy reveals particular details about the malignancy, such as its origin.

This information provided by the National Cancer Institute assists clinicians in determining which treatment option is best for the individual malignancy.

9. What Is the Treatment for Bone Cancer?

Treatment for bone cancer is determined by the kind of cancer, whether it has spread, and if so, where it has gone. Bone cancer patients often collaborate with a team of healthcare experts to become well.

Specialists who specialize in cancer (oncologists and radiation oncologists), as well as doctors who specialize in bones and joints, make up this category (orthopaedic surgeons).

Treatment for bone cancer usually involves a mix of methods. The kind of bone cancer, the size of the tumour, and whether it has spread to other regions of the body all influence the type and length of therapy. The following are the therapies that are employed the majority of the time:

9.1. Surgery

The tumour and some good tissue surrounding it are removed by the surgeon. They may also use real or artificial bone transplants to mend or reconstruct damaged bones. To cure cancer, it is sometimes necessary to amputate a whole leg.

An artificial limb (prosthetic) may be utilized in this situation. A second surgery may be necessary if the first one was not successful in removing all of the cancer cells.

9.2. Radiation Treatment

With high doses of X-rays, this therapy reduces tumours. Before surgery, radiation is often used to reduce the tumour so that less tissue is removed.

9.3. Chemotherapy

This method of therapy uses drugs to eliminate cancer cells throughout the body. This drug is frequently given to people as a tablet or as an injection into a vein. Chemotherapy could be used to treat primary bone cancers as well as malignancies that have spread.

10. Is It Possible to Avoid Bone Cancer?

How Do You Know if You Have Bone Cancer
photo by Anna Shvets / pexels

There is presently no recognized strategy to avoid bone cancer since researchers do not know what causes it. Furthermore, since radiation therapy (another recognized cause of bone cancer) is required for the treatment of other cancers, it cannot be avoided entirely.

11. What Is the Prognosis for Bone Cancer Patients?

Bone cancer is effectively treated in many situations. Cancer never returns in these cases. Multiple procedures are often required to achieve this result.

Others with bone cancer may need to continue treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy to prevent the disease from spreading. To manage cancer, these therapies may be continued forever.

It’s important to check in with your doctor frequently for indicators that the cancer is returning (recurrent) or spreading. Your physician may begin treating a recurrence sooner if it is found early.

12. Is Most Bone Cancer Fatal?

Normally, no. While some individuals may succumb to bone cancer, many others will recover completely. Bone cancer has a five-year relative survival rate of 66.8%. This indicates that 66.8% of persons diagnosed with bone cancer are still living five years later.

Remember that survival numbers are simply estimations based on individuals who have previously experienced bone cancer. They have no way of knowing how long you will live or what to anticipate in your specific circumstances. Speak with your healthcare physician to learn more about bone cancer survival rates.

13. Conclusion

So, how do you know if you have bone cancer? If you or your child has persistent, severe or worsening bone pain, visit your doctor. Although it is unlikely to be the result of bone marrow, it warrants further research.

Treatments for bone cancer may, over time, produce complications with the patient’s heart, lungs, brain, hearing, bones, and fertility. It is essential to see your physician at frequent intervals to keep an eye out for issues like these and to confirm that the bone cancer has not spread to other areas of the body.

How well you recover from bone cancer depends on the sort of cancer you have and what stage it is. More than 78 per cent of persons who are diagnosed with it go on to survive at least 5 years following the first diagnosis.

  1. Dorfman, Howard D., and Bogdan Czerniak. “Bone cancers.” Cancer 75.S1 (1995): 203-210. ↩︎
  2. Seyfried, Thomas N., and Leanne C. Huysentruyt. “On the origin of cancer metastasis.” Critical Reviews™ in Oncogenesis 18.1-2 (2013). ↩︎
  3. Coleman, R. E. “Metastatic bone disease: clinical features, pathophysiology and treatment strategies.” Cancer treatment reviews 27.3 (2001): 165-176. ↩︎
  4. Ottaviani, Giulia, and Norman Jaffe. “The epidemiology of osteosarcoma.” Pediatric and adolescent osteosarcoma (2010): 3-13. ↩︎
  5. Gelderblom, Hans, et al. “The clinical approach towards chondrosarcoma.” The oncologist 13.3 (2008): 320-329. ↩︎

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