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Bone Cancer

Bone cancer is a cancerous tumor of the bone that destroys normal bone tissue. Not all bone tumors are cancerous. Noncancerous bone tumors are more common than malignant ones. Both types of bone tumors may grow and compress healthy bone tissue, but noncancerous tumors do not spread, or destroy bone tissue, and are rarely a threat to life.

Cancerous tumors that begin in bone tissue are called primary bone cancer. Cancer that spreads to the bones from other parts of the body, such as the breast, lung, or prostate is called metastatic cancer, and is named for the organ or tissue in which it began. Primary bone cancer is far less common than cancer that spreads to the bones. Common types of primary bone cancer are osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, and The Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors.

Osteosarcoma is a cancer of the bone that usually affects the large bones of the arm or leg. It occurs most commonly in young people and affects more males than females. Sarcoma is cancer of the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue. The cause of bone cancer is not exactly known but factors that contribute to developing tumors are high-dose external radiation therapy, treatment with certain anticancer drugs, and heredity.

The most common symptom of bone cancer is pain, but not all bone cancers cause pain. Swelling can also be seen with bone cancer. To help diagnose bone cancer the doctor will ask your personal and family medical history. He or she will also perform a physical exam and order lab and diagnostic testing that may include x-rays, bone scan, CT scan, MRI , PET scan, and biopsy. A biopsy is used to remove a tissue sample from the bone tumor to determine if cancer is present. This tissue is then sent to a pathologist to determine if it is cancer or not. Treatment options depend on the type, size, location, and stage of the tumor, as well as age and person’s health. Once diagnosis is confirmed the doctor will go over treatment options with you. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and cryosurgery. A treatment plan that is best for you will then be decided upon by you and your physician.

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