Bone cancer is the abnormal and uncontrollable growth of cells that make up the bone. The abnormal growth of cells leads to formation of a mass of tissue (tumour). The mass formed can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Bone cancers can be primary (cancer that begins in the bone tissues) or secondary (cancer that begins elsewhere in the body and spreads to bone tissues). Bone cancer is a rare condition.
Like the other cancers, the exact cause of bone cancer is not easy to identify. Some of the possibilities are:
- Exposure to radiation
- Exposure to harmful chemicals
- Bone pain, which worsens over time
- Swelling around affected area
- Fractures due to weak bones
Various procedures are carried out in order to find out the location, size and progression of bone cancers. Specific tests along with a physical examination and review of signs and symptoms may be done to diagnose a bone cancer.
- Imaging procedures such as
- Bone scan
- PET scan
As the exact cause is unknown, the precise preventive measure for bone cancer also remains indefinite. Some of the measures to avoid the risks are:
- Avoid smoking, alcohols and other unhealthy lifestyle
- Regular health check ups
- Avoid exposure to harmful chemicals and radiation
Treatment for bone cancers again depend on the location, size and stage or the progression of the tumour.
- Surgery is one of the most important treatments in bone cancer in which the cancer cells are removed
- Amputation, which means removal of a part or whole limb which is affected. This is usually done when the cancer is very large in size. This procedure is becoming less common with advanced measures being invented
- Radiation therapy is the use of high- energy beams to destroy cancer cells
- Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells
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