Bone cancer: Review and more

Bone cancer is malignant type a tumor that can affect both children and adults and develop in any bone in their body, although the most common are the long bones of the arms and legs. Cancer may also spread from elsewhere to the bone, known as secondary bone cancer, but it is not considered real bone cancer because it does not occur in the bones.

Bone cancer is rare, accounting for only 1 percent of all cancers, and benign bone tumors are much more common than malignant ones.

Surgery is often the main treatment, but radiation and/or chemotherapy may also be used.

Types of bone cancer

There are several types of primary bone cancer, that is, cancer that originated in the bone, including:

  • Osteosarcoma begins in bone cells and most often occurs in the hands, feet, and pelvis. This is due to the increased activity of the osteoblasts. Osteoblasts are cells that contribute to bone formation and design.

Osteosarcoma in the femur involving increased activity of osteoblast cells (purpura).

  • Chondrosarcoma begins in cartilage and mainly affects the pelvis, legs, and arms
  • Ewing Sarcoma. commonly seen on the chest, pelvis, arms, and legs
  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma that begins in the soft tissues but can occur in the bones, especially the hands and feet
  • Fibrosarcoma that also begins in soft tissues but may begin in the hands, feet, or jaw
  • Giant cell bone tumors are usually benign (not malignant), but the malignant form can affect the legs, especially near the knees
  • Chordoma is commonly seen in the spine and base of the skull

Osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, and Ewing sarcoma are the most common types of bone cancer.

Secondary bone cancer it is much more common than primary bone cancer, but it is not considered bone cancer because the cancer has spread from elsewhere to the bone.

In general, when secondary bone cancer is diagnosed, we treat the cancer based on the place of origin rather than the organ it affected.

For example, bone cancer caused by breast cancer that has spread (metastasized) will not be called bone cancer, but rather “breast cancer that metastasizes bone.”

Secondary bone cancer is considered severe and is classified as a stage 4 (metastatic) disease because, by its very nature, it affects several organs.

Symptoms of Bone Cancer

Symptoms of bone cancer they vary from person to person, but pain in the affected bone is by far the most common sign. Bone cancer most often occurs in the long bones of the body, such as the arms and legs.

Other symptoms may include:


Although precise reason most bone cancers are unknown, we know some risk factors associated with this disease.

Hereditary Diseases

A small number of cases of bone cancer are caused by inherited diseases that increase the risk of not only bone cancer, but also other types of cancer. These include:

  • Multiple exostosis is a genetic disorder that causes bumps in the bones and increases the risk of chondrosarcoma.
  • Rothmund-Thomson Syndrome – a genetic disease characterized by skin rashes, rare hair, deformed bones and increased risk of cancer. especially osteosarcomas.
  • Retinoblastoma – an inherited form of cancer that affects the retina and can lead to the formation of cancer in soft tissues or bones.
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a genetic disorder that predisposes you to certain types of cancer, including bone cancer.
  • Paget’s disease of bone, a disease that affects the elderly and gradually destroys bones, can cause bone cancer, usually osteosarcoma, in 1 percent of people with the disease.

Other Factors

There are other factors that increase the risk of bone cancer, including:

  • Previous radiation therapy, especially if done in childhood. Routine X-rays are not considered dangerous, but higher doses (usually more than 60 GY) may also increase your risk. This usually occurs in a child undergoing treatment for another form of cancer that has radiation therapy.
  • Exposure to radioactive materials such as Radium and strontium can cause bone cancer because these materials build up in the bones.
  • A bone marrow transplant may increase the risk of osteosarcoma.


If your symptoms along with the results of the physical exam indicate the presence of bone cancer, your doctor will perform some additional tests.

Imaging tests such as x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) can help detect bone abnormalities invisible to the naked eye. Another specialized visualization tool called bone scan. it allows doctors to see the metabolic activity of the bone. By doing so, they can detect new growth or a place where bone tissue may have collapsed.

Guide to the Doctor’s discussion of bone cancer

Get our printed guide for your next doctor’s appointment that will help you ask the right questions.

In short, bone biopsy he’ll give a definitive test for bone cancer. A biopsy involves removing a small amount of bone tissue to examine under a microscope. It usually takes less than an hour and can be performed as an outpatient surgical procedure.

Performing a biopsy on a person with bone cancer can be complicated because there is a risk that the cancer will spread from its place of origin. This requires a qualified surgeon with extensive experience in treating patients with bone cancer.

If cancer is found, the pathologist evaluates it and places it. The classification and classification of stages vary depending on the type of bone cancer. Ideally, the pathologist examining the sample will have experience diagnosing bone cancer.

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The key to success treatment it is the presence of a medical team experienced in the treatment of primary bone cancer. Your team may include doctors oncologists. radiation oncologists, radiologists, surgical oncologists, orthopedic oncologists, and specialty pathologists.

There are three standard treatments for primary bone cancer: surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Often more than one form of treatment is needed.

  • Surgery: This is the most common treatment for bone cancer. Surgical treatment for non-metastatic bone cancer involves removing cancerous bone tissue and a small section of healthy tissue around it. After that, radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be done to remove all remaining cells.
  • Radiation: High doses of radiation are used to shrink tumors or kill cancer cells after the procedure. It may also be used for palliative purposes to reduce pain. Although radiation therapy can damage nearby healthy cells, these cells tend to be more resistant than cancer cells and can usually recover completely.
  • Chemotherapy: These drugs work by killing rapidly multiplying cells, including cancer cells and rapidly multiplying healthy cells, such as hair follicles, bone marrow, and cells lining the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, chemotherapy may have significant side effects.


Dealing with bone cancer it means learning to adapt to your diagnosis. Ask for help if you need it. Talk to a trusted friend or counselor about how you feel. Take the time to relax and unwind, and stay in open contact with your health care team so they know what to expect from your procedures.

American cancer society it has a wide range of resources to help you understand what’s going on as well National cancer institute it has resources to help you cope and survive.

A Few Words From Get Meds Info

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with bone cancer, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and scared. Contact family and friends. Connecting with others who have been there, either through social media or in support groups organized by your clinic or community center can be a big help.

Take it one day at a time and try to learn as much as you can about your illness. By doing so, you can become an advocate for your own care. Not only will this help you cope better, but it can also give you a greater sense of control and self-determination in a process that can often be overwhelmed by specialists.

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