Bone cancer is any abnormal growth in bones; referred to as neoplastic growths. These could either be benign or malignant and could be primary (those that originate in the bone which are less common) or secondary (those that originate elsewhere; metastases are a more common form of bone cancer).
Secondary bone cancer, which is the more common form of bone cancer may originate in the marrow of the bone and may have spread from other cancers already present in the body such as breast cancer, prostate cancer or lung cancer.
Bone cancer is not as clearly understood as several other types of cancer, however there are certain risk factors that could increase a person’s chances of developing bone cancer.
A history of certain diseases like Paget’s disease, a family history of bone cancer and previous instances of radiation either due to a previous episode of cancer and chemo or otherwise are seen to increase risk.
The main symptoms of bone cancer are:
- The symptoms may not be easily discernible and this is a difficult kind of cancer to diagnose. The main symptom of bone cancer is pain. This pain may be the sort that may be inexplicable otherwise which a cancer sufferer may ignore for a long time before seeking a medical opinion as to the cause. The pain may be ignored at first because it increases gradually so that a person does not realize the deteriorating situation of a developing cancer.
- Apart from pain there could be a swelling and/or tenderness experienced by some sufferers.
- On the other hand some sufferers of bone cancer experience no pain.
- Another symptom of bone cancer that patients may experience is a weakness of the bones and an increases propensity for breakage. The structure of the bone may be weakened by some cancer, making the bones weaker and more prone to breakage.
- Some sufferers also experience general debility and feelings of weakness.
- There could even be some unexplained weight loss experienced.
- Since this is a disease that attacks the bone marrow that is closely connected with the production of red blood cells, anemia is another symptom that could be the result of bone cancer.
The treatment for bone cancer could be drug related, chemo related or surgical (including possible amputation of the affected limb) which is determined by the stage that the cancer has reached.