Health Issues, Medical Tourism

Bone Cancer – Types, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What Is Bone Cancer

There are many people who do not understand what is bone cancer. This is because of the fact that these people think that this kind of cancer can affect only those who have fractures. Other than this, people also think that cancer cannot affect the bones. The truth is that this kind of cancer may not be very common in everyone. But every person has the risk of suffering from this dreadful disease. As the term bone cancer indicates, it is the cancer of the bone and can affect various kinds of bones.

Causes Of Bone Cancer

There are many different causes of cancers affecting the bone and all the causes are related to the stress and the irritation on the bones. It should be remembered that cancer of bone is because of primary cancer in other parts of the body. Cancer starting in the bone directly is not very common, though it can occur at times. Even if such a focal cancer of the bones occur, it mainly affects the long bones of the body.

The bones of the arms and the forearm as well as the bones of the thigh and the leg are the ones that are commonly affected. In spite of the lack of knowledge about this type of cancer, there are a list of risk factors. These can be used to identify who is at risk of bone cancer.

Bone Cancer Risk Factors

1. If a person has a history of cancer in the family, then it can be one of the causes

2. Children and teenagers are those who will be at a higher risk of this kind of cancer.

3. Radiation therapy or chemotherapy is also one of the causes of bone cancer.

4. Paget’s disease is also one of the other causes for this cancer.

One important aspect that people should learn about the causes of bone cancer is that though the risk factor is present in a person, it does not mean that the person will surely be affected by the disease.

Who gets affected by bone cancer

It is not enough if you know what is bone cancer, but you should also know who gets affected by this disease. Males as well as females and adults as well as small children are prone to this disease. In fact, the disease is commonly seen in teenage children and also those smaller than that. This is the reason for amputations in many children.

What are the different types of bone cancer

There are two commonly known types. They are as follows:

  1. Primary cancer of the bone: This is the disease that starts from the affected bone itself. There are many different kinds of primary bone cancers and they are Fibrosarcoma, histiocytoma, chondroma, chondrosarcoma, osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma.
  2. Secondary cancer of the bone: This is the type where the cancer originates in the other parts of the body and then starts affecting the bone. This is the type that is more commonly seen in people.

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph nodes, but it is also one that usually is seen to start from the bones. Those who want to know what is bone cancer should also know about multiple myeloma. This is the bone marrow cancer and so it is not usually considered to be a type of cancer of the bones.

Bone Cancer
Bone Cancer

Signs and symptoms of bone cancer

The main sign is that the affected bone will start weakening and this can even lead to pathological fractures and also stress fractures. The weakening in the bones with or without the stress fracture can lead to pain and loss of function. All these changes in the bone are pathological and can lead to other problems too.These problems are listed below:

1. Pain over cancer area:

Cancer of the bone can occur in any part of the body. Depending on the area affected by cancer, pain can occur. The pain is usually deep rooted. The pain is usually severe at night. In late stages of the disease, when it is very severe, pain can be present all through the day. The bone cancer pain can increase with movement of the affected area.

2. Swelling:

Usually, superficial bone with cancer growth will have swelling that is seen as a mass or lump. At times, the swelling can be inside the body and not easily observed. Swelling in bone cancer can easily be identified if the cancer is present just under the skin.

3. Fractures:

As mentioned earlier, the bone can become weak because of cancer. This can lead to pathological or stress fractures. But, the bone cancer as such does not cause any fractures.

4. General signs and symptoms of cancer:

The other signs and symptoms of bone cancer are non specific. They are similar to the signs and symptoms of cancer generally. It also depends on the spread of cancer and specific to the area where secondary cancer has occurred. For example, secondaries forming in the brain can lead to instability in walking, but is not directly because of bone cancer.

Hypercalcemia is seen and this occurs when the calcium that is released from the breakdown of the bone is mixed with the blood. This condition may in turn cause the person to be affected by increased sleep and can even lead to death. If these symptoms of bone cancer are seen, then immediate treatment is needed.

Diagnosis of bone cancer

Bone cancer is not easy to diagnose, without the use of sophisticated equipment. Clinical diagnosis of cancer can be done, but specific diagnosis of bone cancer and localisation of the cancer is done with high end equipment. Some of the methods of diagnosis of bone cancer are :

• X-rays:

An X ray will help to identify the location as well as size and the shape of the existing bone tumor. It is the simplest diagnostic method, other than clinical diagnosis. Bone cancers in most parts of the body can be identified as a mass in the X-ray. Even malignancy of the cancer can at times be identified with an X-Ray.

• Bone Scan

Bone Scan is needed for confirmation of bone cancer.

• Biopsy :

Biopsy is a confirmatory test for cancer. The type of cancer cells affecting the individual can be identified using this test. A small area of the affected tissue is removed for tests. Biopsy can help in differentiating cancer of the bone which is primary from cancer due to metastasis. Biopsy can be performed either as needle biopsy or as surgical bone biopsy.

• CT scan:

CT scan are usually performed to identify the exact location of cancer cells. The CT scans will also help in understanding the severity of cancer because it will help identify the stage of cancer. The CT of the full body can help in knowing if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Usually, the lymph nodes may be affected and this can be noticed by looking at the CT scan. The latest technology is the CT-guided needle biopsy. This is a diagnostic test that will help to remove a mass from the cancer cells to perform a biopsy.

•MRI scan:

MRI scans are usually used to identify the contours of the tumor. A tumor or cancer affected area will be limited to a specific location in early stages. This will help in deciding on the treatment of bone cancer.

• PET scan or Positron emission tomography:

This is a scan where a type of sugar which has radioactive material is allowed into the body. When it spreads to the various organs and systems, the cancer in various parts of the body can be diagnosed. It is a modern innovation in the diagnosis of cancer. It will help in identifying if the bone cancer is malignant or benign.

• Blood Tests:

A complete blood count, blood protein tests and tumors marker tests are commonly don’t to diagnose cancers, including bone cancers.

Treatment of bone cancer

Though there is no treatment of bone cancer that can cure it immediately, one of the common methods of overcoming the cancer is by removing the affected bone. This is termed as amputation(if affected bone is in a limb) because the bone as well as the surrounding tissues is usually removed. If the bone cancer has spread to other parts of the body, then chemotherapy and also radiation therapy are indicated.

The usual treatments can be listed as
1. Surgery to remove cancer tissues.
2. Chemotherapy
3. Radiation therapy
4. Cryo surgery

Recurrence of bone cancer

Will there be a recurrence of bone cancer is a pertinent question that most people have., It is true that some cancers can be healed completely. Similarly, bone cancer can be healed completely too. On the other hand, those who have bone cancer should also note that if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, especially the lungs, it can cause recurrence of symptoms. So, it is important that the bone cancer is identified as early as possible to get the best treatment and prevent it from recurring again.

Why select India for bone cancer treatment?

Several positive reasons pop out when you decide to get your bone cancer treated in India…

1. India has some of the top class hospitals in the world.
2. There is no delay in treatment. Every individual is given top priority for therapy.
3. The cost of treatment is very less compared to other countries.
4. Highly skilled doctors with a lot of experience in international hospitals are available in Indian hospitals.
5. All other staff are also well trained and highly knowledgeable.
6. The best high end equipment are available for the treatment of bone cancer.

Cost of bone cancer treatment in India for international patients

The cost of treatment for cancer of the bone will be about $10,000 for a 2 week stay in Indian hospitals. If the treatment includes surgical treatment, the cost could be more. Any international patient can write to us for further queries regarding treatment in Indian hospitals.

Participation in cancer clinical trials

When does a person need to participate in cancer clinical trials? Is it worth the effort and is it OK to participate in cancer clinical trials? If you have a rare form of cancer then it is not usual to find good treatment options. Also, if the cancer is at a late stage, normal therapy may not be able to help you. In thee situations, it may be better for you to participate in clinical trials. The advantage of clinical trials is that a new form of unknown treatment may be used. So, if you are suffering from end stage cancer, it is worth it to try this new treatment as it may work fine and save you.

Celebrities who have beaten cancer over the years

Are you depressed because of your cancer? Do not be depressed anymore. There are several celebrities who have beaten cancer over the years. It is important for you to be positive and optimistic. Also, you should carry on with a healthy lifestyle that has a mix of good healthy food and adequate exercises. You should also undergo the required treatment. If you are religious, you should also pray as prayer has also had positive impact on the health of many people. The top celebrities who beat cancer are:

1. Yuvaraj Singh – Indian cricketer
2. Lance Armstrong – Cyclist of international fame
3. Robert De Niro – Hollywood Actor
4. Hugh Jackman – Hollywood Actor
5. Lisa Ray – Indian Model
6. Manisha Koirala – Indian actress

You can read about their stories and get inspired to become healthy again.

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