Bone cancer is a malignant tumour that can arise from any bone in the body. But tumours that arise in the bone tissue itself are called Primary bone tumours who are a specific subtype of one group of cancers called sarcomas. They may be benign or bone cancer and they start in bone, muscle, blood vessels, fat or connective tissue. Non-cancerous tumours in the bones are more common than bone cancers. Bone cancer mostly affects the long bones in the arm and legs and pelvis. Some particular types of bone cancer are found mostly in children, while others may affect mostly adults.
The causes for a few number of bone cancers are said to be due to the hereditary factor, some are related to radiation exposure but in most cases of bone cancers the reason is unknown.
The main sign for bone cancer is pain. Other symptoms are weakened bones which lead to fracture, tiredness, swelling and tenderness close to the affected area and weight loss for no known reasons.
Types of Primary Bone Cancers are:
- Osteosarcoma, also known as osteogenic sarcoma, is more common in men than women of age group 10 to 30. It is the most common type of bone cancer and typically starts in bone cells in the arms, legs or pelvis. After diagnosis 40% people survive for 5 years.
- Chondrosarcoma forms in cartilage cells and chances of developing this cancer increases with age. After diagnosis 70% people survive for 5 years.
- Ewing tumour usually starts in the bones but it may start in other tissues and muscles. It is found mostly in children and teenagers. After diagnosis 50% people survive for 5 years.
- Fibrosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma formed in the soft tissue around the bones, such as tendons, ligaments, fat or muscle. They occur mostly in older adults affecting their arms, legs or jaw.
- Giant cell tumour of bone occurs in the arm or leg bones of young and middle-aged adults
- Chordoma affects bones in the spine and the base of the skull. It is found mostly in men aged 30 and above. After diagnosis 60% people survive for 5 years.
Surgical removal of the tumour and a part of healthy bone or tissues around the tumour is done to ensure that all the cancer cells are removed. For high-grade tumour surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used in a combination of treatments.
While deciding on the treatment for bone cancer the following points are kept in mind like where it is located, what is the stage of the bone cancer, what is the type and grade of cancer and lastly your general health and fitness level.