Bone cancer is a type of cancer in which the cancerous cells form and grow within the bones themselves. It is not a terribly common form of cancer but as a type of cancer it is a serious disease and therefore bears a better understanding, particular in regard to the symptoms and treatments.
Bone cancer tends to affect adolescents and children rather than adults. If an adult is affected by bone cancer, it is usually a result of another type of cancer which has spread to the bones.
No one is quite sure why bone cancer forms in the first place. However there are several factors which may be related to the onset of this disease. Age is the first factor. As indicated earlier, bone cancer tends to strike people who are younger in age rather than older adults. If a person has received chemotherapy previously, it tends to put them at greater risk for developing the disease. And if a person has developed a benign bone tumor previously, there is a higher than average likelihood that the person would eventually develop a malignant bone tumor.
It should be noted that there are several types of bone cancer. Let’s review them as follows:
- Chondrosarcoma – This type strikes mainly adults. It is a type of bone cancer which strikes the cartilage.
- Ewing’s Sarcoma – This is the type of bone cancer which is the most common for people who are aged 10-25. If affects the shaft or the middle part of larger bones. The disease tends to affect the upper arms, thigh and hipbone. With this type, the symptoms are most noticeable in the arms.
- Osteosarcoma – This is the most common type of bone cancer. It tends to strike younger people who are between 10-25 years of age. It affects more males than females. The disease tends to strike the area of the bones where new tissue forms.
Bone cancer is like all other cancers in that the sooner it can be identified and treated, the more successful the treatment can be. So it’s important to understand some key symptoms and bring them to your doctor’s attention for further investigation and diagnosis.
But in general, people who have developed bone cancer can experience the following: unexplained weight loss; night sweats; fever; chills; swelling and tenderness in and near the bones; weak or brittle bones which tend to fracture easily; difficulty in joint movement.
It is unfortunate that many of the symptoms arise after the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. So if you suspect any type of problem, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor and have any concerns properly addressed and verified.
There are a number of physical tests which can be done by your doctor as well as some important imaging tests. If there is a suspicion of this disease, then a biopsy of bone tissue would be taken for further analysis. Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, there are many treatments to help to eliminate or at least stop or slow down the progression and provide you with the best quality of life.