Bone cancer

Overview

Bone cancer can develop in any bone in the body, but commonly found in long bones of the arms, legs, or pelvis. Cancers that begin in the bone also known as primary bone cancer. Bone cancer is a rare disease that represents less than 1 % of all types of cancer.

The mutation of bone cell causes uncontrolled duplication resulting in forming a mass of cells also known as a bone tumor. This tumor then begins to invade and destroy the healthy bone and tissues. It can develop in both children and adults.

Bone cancer and bone metastasis are not the same. Bone metastasis occurs when cancer cells from another origin of the body spread to the bone such as breast cancer, prostate cancer or lung cancer.

Symptoms

  • Bone pain (often gets worse at night)
  • Swelling and tenderness around the affected site
  • Bone weakening may cause fragility fracture
  • Fatigue
  • Have trouble with mobility
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you are worried that you have any of these symptoms, consult a doctor for proper medical history taking, diagnosis, and treatment.

Causes

The reason why most of the bone cancers occur is unknown. Hereditary factors have been found in some type of bone tumor while other cases are associated with exposure to radiation.

Types of bone cancer

Bone cancers are categorized into different types by the type of cells that cancer originated from. The following are the most common types:

  • Osteosarcoma. The most common form of bone cancer. In osteosarcoma, bone is produced by cancerous cells. It commonly found in children and young adults during development.  The cancer will occur primarily in the bones of leg or arm. Osteosarcomas rarely develop outside the bones, known as extraskeletal osteosarcomas.
  • Chondrosarcoma. The second most common type of bone cancer. In chondrosarcoma, cartilage is produced by cancerous cells. This tumor is mostly found in middle-aged and older adults and commonly develops in the pelvis, legs or arms.
  • Ewing sarcoma. Tumors appear predominantly in the bones or soft tissues in the pelvis, legs, arms or hips. Children and young adults usually experience this type of bone cancer.

Risk factors

  • Inherited genetic syndrome such as Li-fraumeni and hereditary retinoblastoma  have higher risk of developing bone cancer.
  • Paget’s disease of bone is a chronic disorder of bone which can increase risk of bone cancer. Enlargement and deformity of bone occurs in this disease. It happens to patients of older age.
  • Radiation therapy for cancer is an exposure to high dosage of radiation.