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Bone Tumors

Bone Tumors: Help, Support and Overcome

Bone Tumors Overview

Bone tumors develop when the cells in the bone marrow divide without control and form masses of tissues. This abnormal growth of the bones is generally secondary, that is, it originates at other sites of the body and spreads to the skeleton. However, though it is rare, bone tumors may also be primary and originate in the bone itself.

Benign bone tumors do not necessarily always metastasize, in fact, tumors may remain benign throughout one’s life. Primary bone tumors may be benign or malignant, but as secondary bone tumors spread from other parts of the body, they are always malignant. Secondary bone cancer generally spreads from breast, prostate or lung cancer. Though bone tumors can affect both children and adults, it is more common in children and teenagers.

Help and Support for Bone Tumors

Though the cause of a bone tumor cannot be exactly pinned down, researchers have discovered that it is usually hereditary. Hereditary conditions like the Rothmund Thomson syndrome and diseases like Paget’s disease may increase the risk of bone tumors. Exposure to radiation for the treatment of a previous disease may also increase the chances of the development of tumors in the skeleton.

 

Bone tumors or cancers usually originate in the long bones of the arms or the legs. The most common symptom of a bone tumor is pain. But, it is possible that you may show no symptoms at all, and a tumor may grow undetected. Pain in the bones is usually related to benign bone tumor. A bone weakened by a tumor is susceptible to cracking or breaking. Some other symptoms related to a bone tumor are fever, anemia, uncontrolled weight loss and fatigue.

 

Imaging tests like MRI’s, CT scans and X-rays can identify abnormal growths on bones and bone tissues. Another test, the bone scan, is an excellent indicator of the conditions of the bone. It is a test which allows doctors to see the metabolic activity in the bone tissues and thus enable them to identify the areas which have broken down. Ultimately, it is the biopsy test which can confirm or rule out bone cancer. Here, a small sample of the bone tissue is extracted and is studied under the microscope. Extra care is taken if the patient is suspected to have primary bone cancer, as a biopsy procedure might spread the tumor.

Overcome Bone Tumors

A benign tumor is usually observed and treated with medication, though sometimes they are removed. As primary malignant bone cancer is rare, the key to its treatment is consulting a team of doctors experienced in treating bone cancer. There are broadly three categories of treatment: surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

 

Surgery is the most common procedure in the treatment of bone tumors. The part of the bone affected by the tumor is removed, and a metallic implant is placed. Radiation therapy uses high energy beams to destroy or shrink tumors. Though this might damage surrounding healthy cells, these healthy cells are resilient and grow back. Chemotherapy uses drugs which eliminate rapidly multiplying cancer cells. The side effect of chemotherapy is that hair follicle cells also die.

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