Bone cancer, and particularly primary bone cancer is among the rarer kind of cancer and the location of this kind of cancer can require certain kind of treatment that may differ from treatments for other kinds of cancer.
The treatment as well as survival rates of bone cancers depends upon several factors – for non malignant tumors, the prognosis is generally very good; since they typically do not grow and harm surrounding tissue, however there is the slight chance that such tumors may become malignant sometime in the future.
Also if the tumor is detected before it has had the chance to spread, the outlook can be much better and a complete cure may be possible. Bone cancer treatment also hinges on the location, extent, size and type of cancer.
The main options for bone cancer treatment are medication, chemotherapy/radiation and surgical options:
Surgery – This is among the more effective solutions for bone cancer, where the cancerous part of the bone is removed in a way that no cancerous cells are left behind to spread and cause further damage.
Earlier, entire limbs were often amputated to remove the bone cancer altogether, however new advancements in surgical techniques no longer makes this necessary. What doctors now do, is, remove the cancerous part of the bone and let the rest remain intact.
If the area of bone removed is significant, then larger bone grafts or metal implants may be required to take the place of the lost bone. However if the amount of cancerous bone removed is smaller, a smaller bone graft or bone cement may be sufficient to take its place.
Medications for Bone Cancer – Since pain is the main symptom of bone cancer, medication for managing the pain is one of the main concerns. Loss of bone mass and bone density is another concern and medication is also prescribed to increase bone strength.
Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy – in bone cancers such as Chondrosarcoma, this therapy is less useful, but may be more so in other types such as Ewing’s Sarcoma. Radiotherapy which uses X ray radiation to kill the cancer cells and chemotherapy can be used either singly or in combination.
In addition to these commonly used treatments for bone cancer, Cryosurgery may also be used sometimes. This uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the cancerous cells in order that they die. This is a more recent treatment than surgically removing the tumor and this may be used instead of traditional surgery.