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Bone Cancer

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Posted by on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, 23:00
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Bone cancer is triggered off when there is a disorder of the cells that bones are made up of. If the cancer starts in the bone, it is known as primary bone cancer. Each year about 2000 people are diagnosed with bone tumors in the US. Tumors in the bone occur more commonly in adolescents and children compared to older adults. When the bone is affected by cancer in older adults, it is usually due to the metastasis of the cancer from some other tumor in another organ.

Bone Cancer
Bone Cancer

Various Types of Bone Cancer

Bones serve various purposes in the body. They protect and support the organs in the body. For instance, the brain is protected by the skull and the lungs are protected by the ribs. Blood cells are made and stored in the bone marrow, the spongy and soft tissue that many bone have in their center.

Primary bone cancer occurs most commonly in the legs and arms, although it can also affect other bones of the body. Primary bone cancers are usually referred to as sarcomas, of which there are several types. Each type of sarcoma affects a different type of bone tissue, with the most common being: chondrosarcoma; Ewing’s sarcoma; and osteosarcoma.

Chondrosarcoma: This type of bone cancer occurs mostly in adults. It affects the cartilage, which is the rubber-like tissue that is around the joints.

Ewing’s sarcoma: This bone cancer occurs most often amongst people between the ages of 10-25, with teenagers being most affected. It affects the shaft, or middle part of large bones. It usually occurs in the long bones of the upper arm and thigh and also the hipbones. It can also affect the ribs.

Osteosarcoma: This is the most common kind of bone cancer and it affects young people in the age group of 10-25 years. Males are more susceptible to it compared to females. Osteosarcoma usually begins where new bone tissue forms, at the ends of bones, as young people grow. The long bones of the legs and arms are usually affected by it.

Cancers like the above, which start in the bone, occur rarely. However, it is quite common for cancers to spread from the other parts of the body to the bone. This type of cancer is known as metastatic cancer. Around 80% of the metastatic cancers that affect the bone are due to primary carcinomas that affect other organs such as the prostate, breast, kidney, lung, stomach, pancreas, and thyroid. Each of these types of metastatic cancers, which affect the bone, is named according to the tissue or organ where the primary cancer occurs.

What are the Bone Cancer Symptoms?

The symptoms of bone cancer vary from one person to another according to the location and size of the bone cancer. Pain is one of the most common bone cancer symptoms. Generally, there is a gradual increase in the severity of the symptoms with time. At first, the pain may only be felt with activity or at night. According to the growth of the cancerous tumor, people may experience the symptoms for weeks, perhaps even months, sometimes even years until they seek medical help. Sometimes a lump or mass may occur either in the tissues that surround the bone or on the bone itself. This commonly occurs with fibrosarcoma or MFH, but can also occur with other types of bone tumors as well. Some of the less common bone cancer symptoms are weight loss, night sweats, chills, and fever. These symptoms usually occur when the cancerous tumor spreads to the other parts of the body.

Various factors affect the successful treatment of bone cancer, one of the most important being the early detection of the symptoms of bone cancer. Moreover, the recovery from this disease is largely dependent on the recognition and understanding of bone cancer symptoms. These symptoms are actually signs warning that something could be wrong. Hence, these symptoms of bone cancer should not be ignored. And, even though the symptoms may ultimately prove to be the root causes of some other ailment, it is better to make certain and not ignore these bone cancer symptoms.

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