Friday, January 14, 2011

Bone cancer - Definition, Types, Causes & Treatment

What is bone cancer?
Bone cancer is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that begin in bone tissue are called primary bone cancer. Tumor destroys normal bone tissue. Not all bone tumors are malignant. Benign (noncancerous) bone tumors are more common than malignant. Both malignant and benign bone tumors may grow and compress healthy bone tissue, but benign tumors do not spread, do not destroy bone tissue, and are rarely a threat to life.

Malignant tumors Cancer that metastasizes(spreads)to the bones from other parts of the body, such as the breast, lung, or prostate, is called metastatic cancer, and is named for the organ or tissue in which it began. Primary bone cancer is far less common than cancer that spreads to the bones.

Types of bone cancer
1)Primary and secondary bone cancer: A primary bone cancer is starts in the bones. A secondary cancer in the bones has spread from one part to another in the body.

2)Osteosarcoma: Osteosarcoma is a primary bone cancer are arises from osteoid tissue in the bone. This tumor take place most often in the knee and upper arm .

3)Chondrosarcoma: This is most often diagnosed in middle age and is usually slow growing. It begins in cartilaginous tissue.. Chondrosarcoma starts most often in the pelvis. Sometimes a chondrosarcoma contains cancerous bone cells.

4)Ewing’s Sarcoma Family of Tumors (ESFTs): This bone cancer is most often diagnosed in teenagers which usually occur in bone but may also arise in soft tissue (muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels).

Causes of bone cancer
While bone cancer does not have a clearly defined cause, researchers have identified several factors that increase the possibility of developing these tumors. A small number of bone cancers are due to heredity. For example, children who have had hereditary retinoblastoma (an uncommon cancer of the eye) are at a higher risk of developing osteosarcoma, particularly if they are treated with radiation.

1.Osteosarcomais the most common primary malignant bone cancer. Osteosarcoma occurs more frequently in people who have had high-dose external radiation therapy or treatment with certain anticancer drugs; children seem to be particularly susceptible.

2.Ewing's sarcoma is the most aggressive bone tumor and affects younger people between 4-15 years of age.

3.Malignant fibrous histiocytoma(MFH) affects the soft tissues, including muscle, ligaments, tendons, and fat. It is the most common soft-tissue malignancy in later adult life, usually occurring in people 50-60 years of age.

4.Chordoma is a very rare tumor with an average survival of about six years after diagnosis. It occurs in adults over 30 years of age
Symptoms of bone cancer
The most common symptom of bone cancer is Pain, but not each and every one bone cancers cause pain determined or unusual pain or swelling in or near a bone can be caused by cancer or by other conditions

How often does bone cancer occur?
Primary bone cancer is rare. It accounts for much less than 1 percent of all cancers. About 2,300 new cases of primary bone cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year (5). Different types of bone cancer are more likely to occur in certain populations
Osteosarcoma occurs most commonly between ages 10 and 19. However, people over age 40 who have other conditions, such as Paget disease (a benign condition characterized by abnormal development of new bone cells), are at increased risk of developing this cancer.

Chondrosarcoma occurs mainly in older adults (over age 40). The risk increases with advancing age. This disease rarely occurs in children and adolescents

ESFTsoccur most often in children and adolescents under 19 years of age. Boys are affected more often than girls. These tumors are extremely rare in African American children.

How is bone cancer diagnosed?
To help diagnose bone cancer, the doctor asks about the patient’s personal and family medical history.

•X-rays- which can show the location, size, and shape of a bone tumor. If x-rays suggest that an abnormal area may be cancer, the doctor is likely to recommend special imaging tests.

A bone scan, which is a test in which a small amount of radioactive material is injected into a blood vessel and travels through the bloodstream; it then collects in the bones and is detected by a scanner.

A computed tomography CT or CAT) scan, which is a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles, that are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine.

A magnetic resonance imaging(MRI) procedure, which uses a powerful magnet linked to a computer to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body without using x-rays.

A positron emission tomography (PET) scan:in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used. Because cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body.

An angiogram which is an x-ray of blood vessels.

Biopsy(removal of a tissue sample from the bone tumor) to determine whether cancer is present. The surgeon may perform a needle biopsy or an incisional biopsy..

Blood tests to determine the level of an enzyme called alkaline phosphatase. A large amount of this enzyme is present in the blood when the cells that form bone tissue are very active—when children are growing, when a broken bone is mending, or when a disease or tumor causes production of abnormal bone tissue.

Treatment of bone cancer
Treatment of bone cancer is depend on type, size, location, and stage of the cancer, as well as the person’s age and general health. Treatment options for bone cancer such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and cryosurgery.

Surgery is the usual treatment for bone cancer. The surgeon removes the entire tumor with negative margins (no cancer cells are found at the edge or border of the tissue removed during surgery). The surgeon may also use special surgical techniques to minimize the amount of healthy tissue removed with the tumor.

Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. Patients who have bone cancer usually receive a combination of anticancer drugs. However, chemotherapy is not currently used to treat chondrosarcoma (1).

Radiation therapy also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. This treatment may be used in combination with surgery. It is often used to treat chondrosarcoma, which cannot be treated with chemotherapy, as well as ESFTs (1). It may also be used for patients who refuse surgery.

Cryosurgery is the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill cancer cells. This technique can sometimes be used instead of conventional surgery to destroy the tumor.

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