Bone Cancer

About Bone Cancer

Bone cancer is a sarcoma (type of cancerous tumor) that starts in the bone.A tumor may be malignant, which means it’s growing aggressively and spreading to other parts of the body.Many symptoms may emerge as bone cancer develops and grows, but pain is the most common.

While the disease may occur in any bone in the body, it most often develops in the long bones of the arms and legs and pelvis.The two main types are primary and secondary bone cancer. In primary bone cancer, cancer develops in the cells of the bone. Secondary bone cancer occurs when cancers develop distant parts or metastasize, to the bones.

Causes and Risk Factors of Bone Cancer

The exact causes of bone cancer are unknown, but certain factors may increase a person’s risk of developing bone cancer. Some examples are genetic disorders and previous treatments for other conditions.

Genetic Disorders

  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome,
  • Rothmund-Thompson syndrome
  • retinoblastoma gene (associated with a rare eye cancer of children)
  • Multiple exostoses syndrome (also known as multiple osteochondromas syndrome).
  •  osteosarcomas and chordomas

Other Conditions

Paget’s disease: which is a condition that causes the bones to break down and then grow back abnormally

Previous radiation therapy for cancer, especially treatment at a young age or with high doses of radiation

Bone marrow transplantation is also link with the bone cancer.

Bone Cancer Symptoms

  • pain and swelling in the affected bones
  • Fractures
  • Swelling or tenderness in or near a joint
  • palpable hard mass in the long bones of the limbs
  • Difficulty with normal movement
  • Anemia(Decrease the number of red blood cell)
  • Fatigue and tried
  • Fever
  • unintentional weight loss

Bone Cancer Types

Primary bone cancers are a specific sub type of a group of cancers known as sarcomas. Sarcomas are cancers that start in bone, muscle, connective tissue, blood vessels or fat, and can be found anywhere in the body.

Types of primary bone cancers include:

1) Osteosarcoma or osteogenic sarcoma:It is the main type of bone cancer. It occurs most often in children and adolescents, and it accounts for about one-fourth of bone cancer in adults. More males than females get this cancer

2) Chondrosarcoma :This is the second most common primary cancer involving the bones. It may occur in the pelvis, thigh areas, and shoulders of older adults. It forms in the subchondral tissue, which is the tough connective tissue between your bones.

3) Ewing tumor( Ewing’s sarcoma):  typically starts in the bones, but it may also form in  supporting soft tissue, such as fat, muscle, or blood is the second most common type of bone cancer in children and teenagers.

4) Fibrosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma typically develops in the soft tissue(connective tissue) around the bones, such as tendons, ligaments, fat or muscle.

5) Chordoma :usually develop in the spine and base of the skull.

6) Metastatic bone cancer:It forms in the bone but spreads to other parts of the body. This type of bone cancer is more prevalent than primary bone cancer.

Diagnosis of Bone cancer


A biopsy is a medical procedure that involve taking a small sample of tissue so that it can be examined under a microscope. Biopsies can be used to investigate the cause of a person’s symptoms or to help diagnose a number of different health conditions. There are two types of bone biopsy:

  • Needle biopsy: A long, hollow needle is inserted through the skin to the area of bone to be tested. The needle removes a cylindrical sample of bone to look at under a microscope.
  • Surgical biopsy: This is  performed under general anesthesia by a surgeon, who will remove a sample of the tissue or whole tumor for examination under a microscope. A biopsy that is not done correctly may cause the cancer to spread.

Bone scan

A radionuclide bone scan may be used to diagnose and stage bone cancer.A bone scan can also be an important tool for detecting cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the bone from the tumor’s original location.

Imaging Tests


chest X-ray may also help determine whether cancer cells have spread to the lungs and pleura.

CT Scan

CT scans may also be used to guide the biopsy needle and also helpful for cancer has spread to other areas of the body or not. A computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging test that uses a computer to put a series of x-ray images together to create detailed 3D images of organs, tissues, bones and blood vessels in the body.


A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging test that uses powerful magnetic forces, radiofrequency (RF) waves and a computer to make detailed 3-dimensional pictures of the organs, bones and tissues inside your body.It help determine  tumor in the bone and  help determine whether cancer cells have spread to the brain or spinal cord.

Bone Cancer Treatments


The goal of surgery is to remove the entire cancerous tumor.Surgery to remove and replace damaged bone is an option to stop cancers that spread quickly.Many surgeries may be performed, depending on the location and extent of the tumor.

Radiation Therapy

Bone cancer is not highly sensitive to radiation, so that radiation usually is not a treatment.Radiation therapy also called radiotherapy.Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.Radiation therapy most often uses X-rays, but protons or other types of energy also can be used.

Radiation therapy is often used along with chemotherapy.At high doses, radiation therapy kills cancer cells or slows their growth by damaging their DNA. Cancer cells whose DNA is damaged beyond repair stop dividing or die. When the damaged cells die, they are broken down and removed by the body.

it often causes side effects. These are different for each person. Some common side effects are fatigue, dry mouth,nausea, vomiting, pain, and hair loss.


It’s an important part of treatment for osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma.Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. In general, normal cells grow and die in a controlled way. Cancer cells keep growing without control. It stopping them from spreading, or slowing their growth.

Chemotherapy is often used along with radiation therapy and surgery  in treating cancers. It may be used before surgery to shrink a tumor or after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that remain and to prevent the cancer from coming back. Chemotherapy may also be used to relieve symptoms, improve quality of life and extend life for people with advanced cancer

Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells, but they can also damage healthy cells.Some common side effects are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, pain, and hair loss.

Targeted Therapy

These therapy  are used to help fight some types of bone cancer, including chordoma.It may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy or other treatments, to help anti-cancer drugs better identify and attack cancer cells.

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