Bone Cancer Awareness Month
July is Bone Cancer Awareness Month, a dedicated period of time aimed at raising awareness about bone cancer. On this, Bone Cancer Awareness Month we educate the public about the warning signs and symptoms of bone cancer for early detection. This can help to improve the chances of survival through effective treatment options with better outcomes for patients.
Every year on Bone Cancer Awareness Month, Uhapo conducts various activities and initiatives to promote awareness and education for saving lives. Our aim is to educate you about bone cancer, support patients and their families, and raise funds for those in need so that we can increase the cure and survival rates.
Guide To Bone Cancer
Here’s a general guide to bone cancer that provides an overview of the disease, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options –
What is Bone Cancer?
Bone cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the bones of the body. It is one of the rare types of cancer that occurs commonly in children, teenagers, and younger adults. It can begin in any bone but is most commonly found in the long bones of the arms and legs, as well as in the pelvis and spine. There are several types of bone cancer, but the most common type is osteosarcoma, which typically affects children and young adults.
Bone cancer occurs when cells in the bone begin to grow uncontrollably, forming a mass of abnormal tissue called a tumor. The tumor can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected bone, and can weaken the bone, making it more prone to fractures. Bone cancer can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver, and other bones.
Types of Bone Cancer
There are several types of bone cancer, which can be classified based on the type of cells from which the cancer originates. The most common types of bone cancer included are –
- Osteosarcoma – It arises from the cells that form new bone tissue. These typically affect children and young adults.
- Chondrosarcoma – This type of bone cancer arises from the cells that form cartilage, which is the connective tissue that cushions the joints. It is more common in older adults.
- Ewing sarcoma – This rare type of bone cancer typically affects children and young adults. It arises from the cells in the bone marrow that form blood cells.
- Giant cell tumor of bone – This is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor that typically affects the ends of the long bones in the arms and legs. However, in rare cases, it can become malignant (cancerous).
- Chordoma – This is a rare type of bone cancer that arises from the cells that form the notochord, which is a structure that develops in the early embryo and later disappears in most people.
- Multiple myeloma – This is a type of cancer that affects the plasma cells in the bone marrow, which are responsible for producing antibodies to fight infections.
Each type of bone cancer may require different treatment approaches, so it is important to determine the specific type of bone cancer before starting treatment.
Causes and Risk Factors
Experts have not yet understood the causes of bone cancer, but certain factors may increase a person’s risk of developing the disease. These include –
- Inherited genetic mutations – Certain inherited genetic mutations, such as those that cause Li-Fraumeni syndrome or hereditary retinoblastoma, can increase the risk of bone cancer.
- Radiation exposure – Exposure to high doses of radiation, such as during radiation therapy for other cancers, may increase the risk of bone cancer.
- Paget’s disease – This is a bone disorder that causes abnormal bone growth and may increase the risk of bone cancer.
- Previous bone diseases – Previous bone diseases, such as osteosarcoma or chondrosarcoma, may increase the risk of developing a second bone cancer.
- Age – Bone cancer is more common in children and young adults, but it can occur at any age.
- Gender – Some types of bone cancer, such as osteosarcoma and chondrosarcoma, are more common in males.
- Race – Certain types of bone cancer, such as Ewing sarcoma, are more common in Caucasians.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of bone cancer can vary depending on the type and stage of cancer, but some common signs and symptoms include –
- Pain – Pain in the affected bone is the most common symptom of bone cancer. The pain may be constant or may come and go, and may be worse at night.
- Swelling and tenderness – The affected area may be swollen and tender to the touch.
- Weakness and fatigue – As cancer progresses, it can weaken the affected bone, causing fatigue and weakness in the affected limb.
- Difficulty moving – Cancer may make it difficult to move the affected limb, and may cause stiffness or immobility.
- Unintended weight loss – Weight loss may occur as cancer progresses.
- Fractures – The affected bone may be more prone to fractures, and a fracture may be the first sign of bone cancer.
Diagnosis and Tests
If bone cancer is suspected, several diagnostic tests may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent of the cancer. Some common tests include –
- X-rays – X-rays can help identify abnormalities in the bone, such as tumors or fractures.
- MRI – MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of the bone and surrounding tissue, which can help detect bone tumors.
- CT scan – CT scan uses X-rays to create detailed images of the body, which can help identify the location and size of bone tumors.
- Bone scan – A bone scan involves injecting a small amount of radioactive material into a vein, which then accumulates in areas of the bone that have been damaged or are growing rapidly. The affected areas can then be identified with a special camera.
- Biopsy – A biopsy involves taking a small sample of the affected bone tissue and examining it under a microscope to determine if it is cancerous.
Once a diagnosis of bone cancer is confirmed, additional tests may be performed to determine the extent of the cancer, such as a PET scan, which can help detect if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
The treatment for bone cancer depends on the type, location, stage, and size of the tumor, as well as the patient’s overall health. Some common treatments for bone cancer include –
- Surgery – Surgery is often the first treatment for bone cancer. The goal of surgery is to remove the tumor and some surrounding healthy tissue to ensure that all cancer cells are removed. Depending on the size and location of the tumor, limb-sparing surgery or amputation may be necessary to treat cancer. An artificial(limb) can be used after surgery for support.
- Radiation therapy – Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It may be used before or after surgery, or as the primary treatment for bone cancer that cannot be surgically removed.
- Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. It may be used before or after surgery, or as the primary treatment for bone cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
- Targeted therapy – Targeted therapy uses drugs that target specific proteins or other molecules that help cancer cells grow and divide. It may be used in combination with other treatments for bone cancer.
The choice of treatment depends on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, the patient’s age and overall health, and the potential risks and benefits of each treatment.
Bone cancer can begin in any part of the body. It is a rare type of cancer that affects less than 1% of the population. Bone cancer most commonly affects the pelvis and long bones of the arms and legs. However, bone cancer can develop at any age but they are more common in children, teenagers, and younger adults than in older adults.
Experts have not yet known the exact cause of Bone Cancer but have found certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing bone cancer. The most important factors that are linked with bone cancer are radiation, drugs, or hereditary conditions in the families.
The five-year survival rate for bone cancer is around 66.8% based on data from people who’ve had bone cancer in the past. You can significantly have a better chance of survival with full recovery via early detection. If you have concerns about the risk of developing bone cancer talk to your healthcare provider about your necessary symptoms for an effective diagnosis of your condition. They will access your specific condition in depth by providing personalized guidance for appropriate treatment and recovery.
Bone cancer can begin in any part of the body but it most specifically affects the pelvis and long bones of the arms and legs. It can develop at any age but they are more common in children, teenagers,