Bone cancer can be distinguished into primary and secondary bone cancer. When cancer spreads within the cells of the bone, it is classified as Primary Bone Cancer. Examples of primary bone cancer include Osteosarcoma, Ewing Sarcoma, Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma and Chondrosarcoma.
In cases where cancer which originated from another part of the body, has spread to the bone, it gets classified as Secondary Bone Cancer.
The most common symptom of cancerous tumours in bone are pain, which gradually increases over time with the creation of bone lesions.
Other symptoms include:
· Bone fractures
Many patients will not experience any symptoms making the prognosis difficult. The only giveaway would be a painless mass which could confirm bone cancer. Some bone tumours may weaken the structure of the bone causing pathologic fractures.
Although bone cancer does not have a clearly defined cause, researchers have identified several factors that increase the likelihood of developing these tumours.
Myeloma, a type of white blood cell which produces antibodies, has a probability of multiplying unusually or releases too much protein (immunoglobulin) into the bones and blood, giving rise to bone cancer.
Osteosarcoma occurs more frequently in people who have had high-dose external radiation therapy or treatment with certain anticancer drugs. Studies indicate that children are more susceptible to osteosarcoma.
A small number of bone cancers are due to heredity. For example, children who have had hereditary retinoblastoma (an uncommon cancer of the eye inherited by a faulty gene) are at a higher risk of developing osteosarcoma.
It is also observed individuals who have hereditary defects of bones or metal implant to correct fractures, are more likely to develop osteosarcoma.
The following groups have a higher chance of developing bone cancer:
Children & Adults below the age of 20 are more likely to get bone cancer. Bone cancer below 20 is largely unknown. In some cases it is attributed to hereditary factors.
Patients with a history of radiation therapy
People with a history of Paget's disease ( which interferes with the bone’s natural recycling process)
People with a close relative (parent or sibling) who has/had bone cancer.
People with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (a mutation of the tumour suppressing gene TP53)
Babies born with an umbilical hernia
The options on treatment for bone cancer depends on several factors, such as what type of bone cancer it is, where it is located, how aggressive it is, and whether it is localized or spread.
There are typically 4 stages of bone cancer which have various treatment options. If the tumour in the bone is of low grade, it is called as Stage 1 Bone Cancer. In case the cancer in the bone is of high-grade, then it is classified as Stage 2 Bone Cancer. A Metastatic bone cancer which has spread to other parts of the bone then it is called Stage 3 Bone Cancer. Advanced cases where it has spread to other parts of body gets classified as called Stage 4 Bone Cancer. Some of the latest bone cancer treatment options that available are:
Radiotherapy (Radiation Therapy)