All malignant tumors that can be found in bone tissue are summarized under the term bone cancer. The most common bone cancer is called osteosarcoma and occurs in both adults and adolescents. Bone cancer can be cured if detected early.
What is bone cancer?
In the case of bone cancer, the type and severity of the symptoms are based on the type, size and location of the tumour. Pain in the affected area is usually a sign of cancer. See AbbreviationFinder for abbreviations related to Bone Cancer.
All malignant (malignant) tumors that are located in the bone tissue are referred to as bone cancer. A distinction is made between primary and secondary tumors. The occurrence of primary bone cancer is very rare.
Secondary bone cancer is the result of another cancer. This tumor develops when another malignant tumor, such as B. breast cancer or lung cancer, spreads and forms metastases (secondary tumors) in the bones. The secondary bone cancer can already be present, even if the triggering cancer causes no or only minor symptoms.
There are also benign (non-cancerous) bone tumors. It must be emphasized that this is not cancer. There are also tumors that cannot be assigned to either of the two groups (malignant or benign). These tumors are called semi-malignant because bone cancer can develop from the tumor tissue. The chondroma is the most common semi-malignant bone tumor.
Bone cancer or bone tumors are also subdivided according to the tissue from which they arise: bone cells, cartilage cells and bone marrow.
Benign (non-cancerous) tumors:
The osteochondroma arises in the cartilage tissue, the osteoma in the bone tissue. The eosinophilic granuloma arises in the bone marrow.
Malignant (malignant) tumors:
Osteosarcoma arises from degenerated bone cells. Chondrosarcoma arises from degenerated cartilage cells and Ewing’s sarcoma originates in the bone marrow. Another malignant bone cancer is the giant cell tumor, whose mother tissue (place of origin) is not known.
The causes of bone cancer are largely unknown. A genetic predisposition is suspected, particularly in the cancer types osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma.
Osteosarcoma occurs primarily in people suffering from osteodystrophia deformans, a skeletal disease with a genetic background.
Other causes of bone cancer are radiation and/or chemotherapy. In particular, those affected who had cancer as children and which was treated with radiation and chemotherapy have a significantly increased risk of developing bone cancer.
Another cause is other cancers. Bone cancer often occurs as a result of breast and lung cancer.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
In the case of bone cancer, the type and severity of the symptoms are based on the type, size and location of the tumour. Pain in the affected area is usually a sign of cancer. It is accompanied by swelling of the skin and tissues near the bone tumor. The pain and swelling often lead to restricted mobility of the affected body region.
The symptoms of an osteosarcoma mainly appear in the area of the arm or leg bones. In the affected areas, the bone loses strength, which means that even normal loads or light external impacts can cause fractures. Certain types of bone cancer can cause other symptoms. Ewing ‘s sarcoma causes pain, swelling and fever, usually accompanied by an increasing feeling of illness.
In the advanced stage, those affected lose weight and are tired or exhausted. Ewing’s sarcoma is most common in the leg, in the area of the shaft on the long bones. The form of cancer can also occur in the pelvic bones. The symptoms of bone cancer increase as the disease progresses and can cause permanent bone damage. If the tumors spread, other symptoms of the entire body appear. An untreated osteosarcoma is fatal for the patient.
Diagnosis & History
Bone cancer is diagnosed by the oncologist. After taking the anamnesis and an initial physical examination, further radiodiagnostic procedures are used if bone cancer is suspected, e.g. B. X-ray, ultrasound, CT, MRI and skeletal scintigraphy. Blood tests also provide information about whether certain enzymes, the so-called “cancer parameters”, are elevated. The following values are examined, among others: alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and neuron-specific enolase (NSE).
Only a histological examination can show whether it is ultimately bone cancer. Here, a biopsy is performed, in which a tissue sample of the tumor is taken and examined in pathology for malignancy.
The course of bone cancer depends on several factors: type of tumour, malignancy, size of the tumor and metastases. If the bone cancer is detected early, if it is small in size and no metastases have formed, there is a good chance of healing with an osteosarcoma. After five years, around 70 to 80 percent of those affected are still alive.
There is also a good chance of recovery from Ewing’s sarcoma. If this bone cancer is detected early, around 50 to 60 percent of those affected are still alive after five years.
Bone cancer is a very serious disease. As with any other tumor disease, bone cancer can also lead to a reduced life expectancy if the tumor spreads to other areas of the body and also affects healthy tissue there. In the worst case, the patient may die prematurely.
In most cases, those affected primarily suffer from severe bone pain. This can also occur in the form of rest pain and lead to sleep disturbances, especially at night, and thus often to depression. The quality of life is significantly reduced by bone cancer. The affected areas can also swell and the patient’s movement is severely restricted. The joints can also be stiffened.
As a rule, there are no special complications during the treatment itself. Bone cancer can be removed with radiation. Whether there are further symptoms depends heavily on the spread and severity of the cancer. Not sailing is also necessary psychological treatment of the person concerned.
When should you go to the doctor?
A doctor should be consulted if bone pain or swelling persists. If other symptoms such as fever or malaise appear, it is best to consult your family doctor immediately. Bone cancer can manifest itself through a wide range of symptoms, which are often not noticed until the disease has progressed. Immediate clarification of unusual symptoms is all the more important. Bone cancer patients should consult the responsible doctor closely. If there is a suspicion that the cancer has recurred or possibly even spread, the doctor must be informed.
Non-specific symptoms or symptoms that appear suddenly also require clarification. It is often sufficient to change the medication, but occasionally there is also a complication that requires treatment. People who have had radiation or chemotherapy are particularly prone to developing bone cancer. There is also an increased risk of cancer in connection with osteodystrophia deformans or multiple osteochondroma. People in these risk groups should consult their family doctor or an internist immediately if they experience the symptoms mentioned. Children and young people should go to the pediatrician.
Treatment & Therapy
The therapy for bone cancer depends on the type of tumor and whether it has already formed metastases. Both osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma combine radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Osteosarcoma treatment usually begins with chemotherapy. This is intended to shrink the tumor, which is then removed during an operation. Radiation therapy is usually not carried out for osteosarcoma, since this tumor does not react or reacts only slightly to radiation.
Following the surgical removal of the tumor, further chemotherapy is carried out. If metastases were also found at the time of diagnosis, an attempt is made to treat them with chemotherapy at the beginning. Only if this is unsuccessful are the metastases surgically removed. In addition, additional chemotherapeutic agents are used during the second chemotherapy (after the operation).
Ewing’s sarcoma is a tumor that responds well to radiation therapy. The course of treatment is identical to that for osteosarcoma. After chemotherapy, the tumor is surgically removed. This is followed by the irradiation. However, it must be noted here that this bone cancer metastasizes very early, preferably in the lungs.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis for bone cancer depends on the progress of the disease at the time of diagnosis and treatment. Without the use of medical care, the premature death of the person concerned is the result. The cancer cells spread unhindered in the organism and lead to a progression of the disease. Other physical regions are affected and healthy tissue is destroyed. Ultimately, the patient is declared dead.
If bone cancer is diagnosed in the early stages, there is a good chance of a cure if appropriate therapy is initiated. The progress of the disease is curbed or completely prevented by the medical possibilities. By removing the affected parts of the body, bone cancer can ultimately be cured. If an operation takes place, the associated risks and side effects must be taken into account when making the prognosis.
Patients in whom the bone cancer has been completely healed must nevertheless reckon with limitations in their further lifestyle. Physical resilience decreases and everyday behavior must be changed and adapted to physical capabilities. The psychological stress can lead to complications. These must also be taken into account when making the forecast. Bone cancer can come back in the course of life.
There are no preventive measures that can be taken for bone cancer. However, there are a number of things that can be done to reduce the general risk of cancer. A healthy diet, abstinence from alcohol, drugs and nicotine as well as sufficient physical activity form a good basis for staying healthy for a long time. You should also keep regular check-up appointments. If symptoms recur, such as B. pain and swelling in the arms and legs, you should consult a doctor. Because the earlier you discover bone cancer, the better the chances of healing or you can at least counteract a severe course of bone cancer.
Tumors are among the diseases that require intensive, regular medical follow-up care. This is mainly due to the life-threatening nature of the symptoms. In addition, early diagnosis of recurrence promises the best treatment success. This is also the quickest way to detect metastases.
In general, the most likely time for new growth to occur is immediately after an initial procedure. For this reason, follow-up examinations are initially carried out on a quarterly basis. If there are no symptoms, the periods are then extended to a half-yearly or annual rhythm.
Clear statements about a recurrence of bone cancer can be made, especially through imaging procedures such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging and computer tomography. A blood test and tissue biopsy can also play an important role. Follow-up care usually takes place in the clinic where the first intervention took place.
In addition to diagnosing a recurrence, aftercare has another function: initial treatment of bone cancer can lead to functional limitations that require treatment. These must be treated during aftercare to ensure a final recovery. If there are even permanent complaints, adequate aids must be made available. The patient should manage his everyday life as independently as possible.
You can do that yourself
The malignant cancer spreads quickly in many patients. A healthy and stable immune system is very important so that the organism has as many defenses as possible during cancer therapy.
Patients can eat balanced meals rich in vitamins to improve their own well-being. Harmful substances such as nicotine or alcohol must be avoided. In addition, a food intake of unhealthy or difficult to digest foods such as fats or high-protein products should be avoided. The fluid balance must be checked and should be based on the recommendations of the doctors.
Cancer is emotionally very stressful for the patient. Mental strength and daily motivation are therefore important for him in everyday life. When dealing with the disease, it is helpful to promote experiences that are perceived as relaxing and life-affirming. Joy and humor should be an integral part against all odds. With a positive basic attitude and setting achievable goals, self-confidence can be supported and new courage to live can be built up.
Relaxation methods have been proven many times to reduce stress. The patient can use these together in training or alone on their own initiative. Sufficient exercise is important despite the bone cancer and should be adapted to the available options.