Bone cancer

What do you think of when you think of the word cancer? Most people quickly think the worst, that cancer is a potentially deadly medical issue that they wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy. But what do you think about when you think of types of cancer? Many people think of breast cancer and lung cancer. This is very understandable, because these two types of cancers are among the most common types of cancers in the United States and the world. We often do not think about other types of cancer, even though, unfortunately, any part of the body can potentially suffer from cancer. One less common type of cancer is bone cancer, and though it is uncommon, it can affect anybody and become devastating if not found and treated early.

Bone cancer is so named because it begins in the bone. While this may seem like common sense, this distinction distinguishes bone cancer from other cancers, which may originate somewhere else in the body and merely metastasize in the bone. Bone cancers should also not be confused with bone marrow cancers, which are different. That isn’t to say that bone cancer cannot and does not spread, though it generally begins in one of the long bones of the body such as arm and leg bones. As with most cancers, bone cancer comes in several forms. Sadly, bone cancers can affect children and adults, though different types of bone cancers tend to affect people of different ages.

Bone cancer has several symptoms, and if you are suffering from any of these symptoms, you should visit your primary care physician immediately. If he or she feels there is cause for alarm, he or she will send you to an oncologist specializing in bone cancers. Bone cancer symptoms include bone pain, swelling or tenderness near the affect area, weakened bones, fatigue and unintended weight loss. If bone tumors are present, weakened bones may even lead to fractures due to strain or stress.

Despite the fact that some bone cancer symptoms are apparent, doctors still have few ideas about what causes this type of cancer. As with all cancers, bone cancers occur when cells of the bones begin to uncontrollably grow and divide. Doctors, though, have identified several distinct types of bone cancer. One is osteosarcoma. This type of bone cancer occurs mostly in children. Anther is chondrosarcoma. This type of bone cancer is mostly found in older adults and usually occurs in the ends of the bones. Ewing’s sarcoma is another type of bone cancer that affects mostly children and/or young adults. Doctors believe Ewing’s sarcoma begins somewhere in the bone tissues.

If you or your child is suffering from the above mentioned bone cancer symptoms, your first step is to make an appointment to see your primary care physician immediately. He or she will look at the symptoms and if he or she sees cause for concern will likely recommend you visit a specialist. He or she may recommend one or a number of specialists. These specialists include an orthopedic surgeon.

Orthopedic surgeons are often best known for operating on sports injuries or broken legs, but there is a subspecialty called orthopedic oncology and those doctors specialize in treating and operating on bone cancer. Your primary care physician may also recommend you see a oncologist who specializes in chemotherapy or one who specializes in radiation. Whatever your doctor recommends, it is in your best interest to comply immediately. Cancer can be a deadly disease, but it can also be quite treatable if caught and treated early. Take care of yourself. Your family will thank you for it.

Last updated on Sep 30th, 2010 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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