The term "bone cancer" doesn't include cancers that begin elsewhere in the body and spread to the bone. Instead, those cancers are named for where they started, such as breast cancer metastasized to the bone. Bone cancer can begin in any bone in the body, but it most commonly affects the pelvis or the long bones in the arms and legs.
How many types of bone cancer exist?
Bone cancers are broken down into different types based on the type of cell where cancer began. The most common types of bone cancer include:
Osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is the most common form of bone cancer. In this tumor, the cancerous cells produce bone. This variety of bone cancer occurs most often in children and young adults, in the leg or arm's bones.
Chondrosarcoma. Chondrosarcoma is the second most common form of bone cancer. In this tumor, the cancerous cells produce cartilage. Chondrosarcoma usually occurs in the pelvis, legs, or arms in middle-aged and older adults.
Ewing sarcoma. Ewing sarcoma tumors most commonly arise in the pelvis, legs, or components of children and young adults.
Who is at risk for bone cancer?
It's not clear what causes bone cancer, but doctors have found certain factors are associated with an increased risk, including:
Inherited genetic syndromes. Specific rare genetic syndromes passed through families increase bone cancer risk, including Li-Fraumeni syndrome and hereditary retinoblastoma.
Paget's disease of bone. Paget's bone disease, most commonly occurring in older adults, can increase bone cancer risk developing later.
Radiation therapy for cancer. Exposure to large doses of radiation, such as those given during radiation therapy for cancer, increases bone cancer risk in the future.
What are the causes of bone cancer?
The cause of most bone cancers is unknown. A small number of bone cancers have been linked to hereditary factors, while others are related to previous radiation exposure. The causes of bone cancer medicine include a doctor to diagnose bone cancer.
What are the symptoms of bone cancer?
Signs and symptoms of bone cancer include:
Swelling and tenderness near the affected area
Weakened bone, leading to fracture.
Unintended weight loss
How is bone cancer diagnosed?
The following tests or bone cancer medicine may be used to diagnose or determine the stage (or extent) of bone sarcoma:
Blood tests. Some laboratory blood tests may help find bone sarcoma.
X-ray. An x-ray is a way to create a picture of the body's structures using a small amount of radiation.
Bone scan. A bone scan may be used to help determine the stage of bone sarcoma.
Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan. A CT scan takes pictures of the inside of the body using x-rays taken from different angles.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses magnetic fields, not x-rays, to produce detailed images of the body.
Positron emission tomography (PET) or PET-CT scan.A PET scan may be used to help determine the stage of bone sarcoma.
Biopsy. A biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope. A pathologist then analyzes the sample.
What is bone cancer treatment?
Surgery is the usual bone cancer treatment. The surgeon removes the entire tumor with negative margins.
Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs for bone cancer are not typically used to treat chondrosarcoma or chordoma.
Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. This treatment may be used in combination with surgery. It is often used to treat Ewing sarcoma.
Cryosurgery is a bone cancer drug that uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill cancer cells. This technique can sometimes be used instead of conventional surgery to destroy tumors in bone.
Targeted therapy uses a bone cancer drug designed to interact with a specific molecule involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells.