Bone Cancer: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The bone cancer occurs by the appearance in one of the bones of a malignant tumor that destroys bone tissue. When cancer has its origin in bone, it is called primary cancer; But when it comes to a metastasis that is produced by the spread of cancer cells from a tumor that has occurred in another organ (lung, prostate, breast, etc.), then you have to talk about a secondary bone tumor.

Bone Cancer Causes

Although in general the causes are not well known, a small part of this type of cancer is of hereditary origin. However, some factors that increase the risk of bone cancer have been identified, such as exposure to high doses of radiation, such as that given in radiation therapy, or cancer treatment medications. Except in the case of chondrosarcoma, age is a risk factor, since it is a cancer that occurs most frequently in children. Also having some hereditary bone deformation (Piaget’s disease) or the use of permanent metal implants for fracture repair can increase the chances of developing bone cancer .

Bone Cancer Symptoms

Pain is the most characteristic symptom of this type of cancer, although others may also occur:

  • Inflammation.
  • Fever.
  • Anemia.
  • Fractures
  • Loss of mobility (when it occurs in joints).

Types of bone cancer

There are different types of bone cancer , depending on the tissue in which it originated:

  • Osteosarcoma: is one that affects the osteoid tissue, which is the hardest and most compact of those that make up the bone. It is produced in the new tissue of growing bones so it mainly affects children.
  • Chondrosarcoma: originates in cartilage, that is, in the tissue that protects the joints. It usually occurs between 50 and 60 years of age.
  • Ewing’s sarcoma: starts in immature nerve tissue, specifically and more frequently in the bone marrow.

Bone Cancer Treatment

Bone cancer treatment will depend on the type, size of the tumor, its location, the degree of development and the age of the patient:

  • Surgery: it is the most common therapeutic option. The treatments prior to surgery and the development of surgical techniques now allow the total amputation of the affected limb (an arm or a leg) to be avoided.
  • Chemotherapy: it is used for the treatment of osteosarcoma and Ewin’s sarcoma, but not chondrosarcoma.
  • Radiation therapy: it is used in combination with surgery and in patients who do not wish to undergo surgery.
  • Cryosurgery: Sometimes it is used instead of surgery, applying liquid nitrogen to the tumor to destroy cancer cells.

Once the treatment has been successfully completed, the patient who has suffered bone cancer should be monitored, since there is a risk that the cancer will be reactivated, and may appear in other bones.


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