Bone Cancer Symptoms are considered as one of the most painful and debilitating out of all the others.
Bone cancer is one of the most dreaded types of cancer out there. They usually associated bone cancer with unbearable pain and discomfort. Usually, cancer does not develop directly in the bones. What happens is that cancer cells from other parts of the body metastasize to the bones. These would be cancers of the breast, lung, kidney, prostate and thyroid (See: Thyroid symptoms). Treatment for bone cancer varies and is usually based on where the cancer first started.
Types of Bone Cancer
As mentioned earlier, bone cancer can be caused by a spread of cancer cells from other areas. However, there are instances where the cancers really do originate from the bones. The bones that are usually at great risk would be the long bones of the arms and the legs. The following would be the types of cancers that have originated from the bone itself.
- Osteosarcoma – this is considered as the most common form of malignant bone cancer. People at risk would males ageing 10-25 years old. This type of bone cancer usually spreads to the lungs.
- Ewing’s Sarcoma – considered as the most aggressive of bone cancers, it affects children around 4-15 years old. It also usually affects the longs bones found in the arms and legs.
- Chondrosarcoma – this is a type of bone cancer that arises from cartilage cells and is usually slow growing. Men around 40 years or older have the greatest risk of developing this condition. The pelvis and the hips (See: Hip pain) are usually affected with this type of cancer.
- Malignant fibrous histiocytoma – affects people 50-60 years old. They usually occur in the soft tissues. Boned affected would be the ligaments, muscles and tendons.
- Fibrosarcoma – this is a very rare form of bone cancer and only affects the tissues in the popliteal area. People at risk would be those around 33-55 years old.
- Chordoma – this is the rarest of all bone tumors and the prognosis is not very good. Life expectancy is usually just about 6 years.
Now that we have finished identifying the different types of bone cancer, let us go look into their different symptoms.
Bone Cancer Symptoms
The symptoms of bone cancer have always been dreaded. On top of the list would be pain. The pain is bone cancer is so severe, that most of the time the patient is heavily sedated just to increase his/her comfort. Initially, the pain would be felt at night or while engaging in an activity. As the cancer progresses, so does the pain. Other symptoms would include fever, chills and weight loss.
Little as it may, symptoms of bone cancer should not be ignored. It is always best to consult with your physician id ever you have observed any of the aforementioned.
Diagnosing Bone Cancer
In order to back-up a doctor’s suspicion, the patient would have to undergo a series of tests. Those mentioned below would be the most common.
- CT Scan or a computed tomography scan would help the doctor visualize your bones through a cross-section picture. Its gives accurate readings of the size and the area of the tumor growth.
- MRI or magnetic resonance imaging is also another imaging test performed in people suspected of bone cancer. With the MRI, the doctor would be able to see better the soft tissues, muscles, ligaments, etc. It could also detect whether the tumor has broken off the bone and metastasized or not.
- Bone Scan would be able to identify whether there were any changes in the bone structure. This is usually a whole body exam.
- Biopsy is done once a tumor has been located. The doctor would take a small piece and send it to the laboratory for testing.
Treating Bone Cancer
The treatment for bone cancer would be pretty much the same as the treatment for other cancers. However, the treatment approach would be based on the type of bone cancer, its location and whether it has metastasized or not. These treatments would either be chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of both.
In chemotherapy, the medication is introduced to the body through an intravenous line. The type of medication used would be different from the type of medication used in other cancers. This would also be under the discretion of the physician.
In radiation therapy, the cancer cells would be bombarded by rays that are meant to kill them and reduce the size of the tumor. However, just like in chemotherapy, these radioactive rays would also damage normal healthy cells. There are 2 types of radiation therapy: external and internal. With internal radiation therapy, they make use of radiation seeds that are implanted on the body.
The prognosis for bone cancer patients depends on the type of cancer that he has and his reception to treatment. In cases where symptoms of bone cancer do not seem to wane, palliative care is usually the chosen method of treatment.
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