Bone cancer

Bone cancer is a comparatively unusual illness in which cancer cells develop in the tissue of the bone. This disease may form in the bone or it may extend to the bone from another location in the body. When cancer begins in the tissue of the bones it is identified as primary bone cancer. If the cancer cells move to the bones from elsewhere it is identified as secondary or metastatic cancer to the bone. There are several types of bone cancer, namely, Osteosarcoma, Chrondrosarcoma, Ewing’s Sarcoma, Fibrosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma, Giant Cell Tumor, and Chormdoma.

The root cause of primary bone cancer is not known. It is suggested that genetics performs the most important role in majority of cases. These conditions that cause increased bone fracture and regeneration over an extended time enhance the risk of developing a tumor. This shows why osteosarcoma in children is most usual during the adolescent growth rush. There are several factors that could make an individual prone to bone cancer or may raise the chances of acquiring the said illness.

Here are some to name a few: Paget disease which is a non-cancerous bone condition; radiation exposure or radon which is produced naturally from radium; exposure to pollutants in the workplace; and genetic factors such as family history of bone cancer. There are various signs that could indicate that an individual has a bone cancer. The most frequent indication of the said illness is pain. While this is the most obvious symptom, these may differ depending on the site and size of the cancer. For example, tumors that happen in or in close proximity to joints may result to swelling or tenderness in the specific part which is affected.

Bone cancer can also hinder proper movements of the bones as well as deteriorate it intermittently thus resulting to a fracture. Other indications could be fatigue, fever, decrease in weight, and anemia. None of these symptoms mentioned is a certain indication of cancer since they may also be caused by other conditions which are less severe in nature. Diagnosis of this illness would require a health specialist to ask about the patient’s personal as well as family medical history. Moreover, a complete a medical exam should be done. Blood tests are used to determine the level of an enzyme identified as alkaline phosphatase.

A large amount of this could be found in the blood when the cells that compose the tissue of the bone are very active. There are some examples: when children are developing; when a fractured bone is healing; or when an illness or a tumor results to a development of abnormal bone tissue. This enzyme is present and has high levels in growing children as adolescents that is why this is not a dependable indicator of bone cancer. X-rays could be used in finding the site, size, and shape of the bone tumor. A bone scan, CT scan or CAT scan, MRI, or an angiogram could also be used.

On the other hand, biopsy is still necessary which is the removal of a sample of a tissue from the bone tumor to identify is there it could be considered as a cancer already. Prevention is still better than cure; however if it is inevitable, there are several treatments available. Bone cancer can be treated successfully even though it could not be healed in the long term. The main goal is to alleviate the symptoms and enhance the quality of life by restricting or limiting the development of cancer. An individual may be given treatments like hormone therapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or even surgery.

Either alone or a combination of those mentioned. The treatment given to a patient would rely on several factors. Symptoms are one factor to be considered. Up to what extent did the cancer reach, menopause, type of tumor the patient had before, treatments the patient had undergone in the past and health in general are some of the factors considered as well. Hormone therapy is used if the cancer is sensitive to oestrogen. Chemotherapy is another option if the secondary bone cancer did not respond or had ceased responding to hormone treatment. There are quite a few chemotherapy drugs that are used to deal with cancer.

These drugs could be given alone or in combination. Secondary bone cancer may have a slow reaction towards chemotherapy and a number of cycles at three to four weekly intervals must be done before the patient could see the improvements. Side effects of the said treatment are discussed with the patient before starting with the treatment. Radiotherapy shrinks the tumor in order to lessen the pain and to avoid potential ruptures. It is given as one dose or in separated doses over a few days. This has the least side effects. It is given only once most of the times to the affected location.

Radioisotope is liquid in form and it is injected into the vein. It moves through the bloodstream and distributes radiotherapy to the bones affected by cancer cells. Bisphosphonates are drugs that aim at the areas of the skeleton where there is high bone turnover. They do not actually treat the cancer itself rather it aids in decreasing the breakdown of the bone by limiting the action of the osteoclasts. It may be in tablet from or injected to the vein. It decreases high calcium levels in the blood, eases the pain, and lessens the risk of bone ruptures and may impede the spread of the secondary bone cancer.

There are new treatments which are being studied thoroughly to be able to come up with more effective treatments. The National Cancer Institute is supporting clinical trials which are treatment studies with patients who are diagnosed with cancer in various hospitals and cancer centers worldwide. These trials are a significant step in the creation of innovative methods of treatment. Safety of the patient is always the concern of health specialist conducting the study. Aside from the treatments mentioned, Complementary and alternative medicine or known as the CAM has gained its popularity in helping cancer patients.

This includes a wide array of healing beliefs, approaches, and therapies as well. A therapy is usually identified as complementary when it is used in addition to the traditional treatments; it is identified as alternative most of the times when it is used instead of the traditional treatment. These conventional or traditional treatments are those acknowledged and widely practiced by the majority of the medical community. Clinical trials were used to study the effectiveness of these conventional cancer treatments while various complementary and alternative therapies have not been studied in clinical trials.

Those which are not acknowledged by the majority of the medical community, are gaining acknowledgement in cancer therapy. They are not really considered as cures instead as a complementary therapies that may be of aid in making the patients feel better and have faster recovery. Acupuncture is one example. Laetrile is one therapy however it was found out that it is ineffective and could probably cause harm to the patient. References McCoy, K. (2006). Definition and Cause. Bone Cancer: Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Ewing’s Sarcoma, Fibrosarcoma, Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma, Primary Lymphoma of Bone, Giant Cell Tumor, Chordoma, 1.

Secondary Bone Cancer: What treatments might I be offered? (2005). Breast Cancer Care Factsheets, January, 4-5. Bone Cancer: Question and Answer. How is bone cancer diagnosed? (1999) National Cancer Institute Factsheet, 2-3. Bone Cancer: Question and Answer. What are the symptoms of bone cancer? (1999). National Cancer Institute Factsheet, 2. Special Section: Environmental Pollutants and Cancer. (2006). Cancer Facts & Figures, 23-24. National Institute of Health. (2001). What about complementary and alternative medicine? Young People with Cancer: A Handbook for Parents, 51-52.

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