As skin cancer or cancers of the eye such as retinoblastoma can have certain visible symptoms and therefore relatively easier to diagnose, bone cancer can be rather difficult to diagnose.
However bone cancers can be difficult to detect and diagnose since they may display symptoms such as pain and swelling, but in some cases not even that.
In a lot of cases the only symptoms of bone cancer may be a painless mass and individuals may go years before actually seeking help.
Since pain and swelling near the bones can be caused by other reasons as well, there are certain challenges about detecting bone cancer.
It is important to detect whether the tumors in the bones are benign or malignant, since benign tumors can be harmless in that they do not spread, or destroy bone tissue or cause any other harm.
There are two classifications of bone tumors – the primary bone tumors, which are less common, originate within the bone and secondary bone tumors or metastatic tumors, which are the more common kind, originate elsewhere such as the lungs, breast or prostate and then spread to the bones.
According to the cancer website, there are several types of Bone Cancer which depend upon the kind of bone tissue where they originate –
Osteosarcoma is a kind of bone cancer that originates in the osteoid part of the bone, which is the hard and compacted bone matter. This kind of bone cancer is more typically seen in the upper arm and the knees. This sort of bone cancer is seen in children between 10 and 19 years of age.
Chondrosarcoma is the kind of bone cancer that originates in the flexible but tough portions of the bones’ cartilages. This is the tissue that cushions the joints or the ends of the bones and. This kind of bone cancer occurs in the pelvic regions, the shoulders and the upper legs.
This kind of cancer most commonly afflicts those who are over the age of 40 and is rare among individuals below 20 years of age.
Then there is the categorization of bone tumors called The Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors (ESFTs) which can arise from the bone tissue or the soft tissues such as the blood vessels, the bone’s supporting tissue, muscle, fat and other tissues around the bone.
This kind of bone cancer can occur in the arms, legs, pelvis and the back bone. This kind of bone cancer is most common among boys of under 19 years of age. Also some ethnic groups such as African Americans seem to have the lowest rates of this disease.