Munson Health
 
Bone Cancer

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by McCoy K

(Osteosarcoma; Chondrosarcoma; Ewing’s Sarcoma; Fibrosarcoma; Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma; Primary Lymphoma of Bone; Giant Cell Tumor; Chordoma)

 

Risk Factors

Factors that can increase your chance of getting bone cancer include:
  • Paget's disease —a noncancerous bone condition
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Family history of bone cancer
Certain types of bone cancer have specific risk factors:
  • Osteosarcoma:
  • Chondrosarcoma:
    • Age: older than 20 years old
    • Multiple exostoses—an inherited condition that results in bumps on bones
  • Ewing’s sarcoma:
    • Age: younger than 30 years old
  • Fibrosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma:
    • Increased age
  • Giant cell tumor:
    • Age: young and middle-aged
 

Treatment

After cancer is found, staging tests are done to find out if the cancer has spread and, if so, to what extent. Treatment depends on the type, stage, and location of the cancer. It also depends on your overall health. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy for bone cancer uses radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may be:
  • External radiation therapy—radiation directed at the tumor from a source outside the body
  • Internal radiation therapy—radioactive materials placed into the body near the cancer cells
Radiation of Tumor
Radiation of Tumor
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given in many forms, including: pill, injection, and through a tube called a catheter. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body, killing mostly cancer cells, but also some healthy cells.

Surgery

Surgery for bone cancer involves the removal of a cancerous tumor, nearby tissues, and possible nearby lymph nodes. Surgery may require amputation of the limb with cancer. Whenever possible, doctors try to remove the cancerous part of the bone without amputating. In this case, metal plates or a bone graft replaces the cancerous tissue that has been removed.
Sometimes, adding radiation therapy or chemotherapy can help avoid the need for amputation. If the tumor is large or aggressive, or the risk of it spreading is high, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be added to help prevent it from returning. This is also done to prevent it from spreading to distant organs.

Myeloablative Therapy with Stem Cell Support

For cancer that has spread, intense chemotherapy is sometimes given to kill cancer cells. This therapy also destroys the bone marrow. Stem cells, which have the ability to develop into other types of cells, are then given to replace the lost bone marrow.

Special Treatment Considerations for Certain Cancer Types

  • Osteosarcoma—Chemotherapy given before and after surgery will often cure osteosarcoma and can allow for limb-sparing surgery in people who might have otherwise required amputation.
  • Ewing’s sarcoma—Since Ewing’s sarcoma is responsive to chemotherapy, its treatment often involves several weeks of chemotherapy followed by surgical removal or radiation therapy, then several more months of chemotherapy.
  • Fibrosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma—These conditions are usually treated with surgery to remove the cancerous tumor and a one-inch margin of healthy tissue surrounding it.
 

RESOURCES

American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org

National Cancer Institute
http://www.cancer.gov

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.ca

Caring for Kids
The Canadian Paediatric Society
http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca

 

References


Bone cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/bone . Updated March 13, 2008. Accessed June 26, 2013.


Detailed guide: bone cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/bonecancer/index . Accessed June 26, 2013.

 

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