Bone cancer is a malignancy that comes from the cells that make up the bones of the body. This is also known as bone cancer. Primary bone tumors are tumors that occur in the bone tissue itself and can be (bone cancer) benign or malignant. Benign tumors (non-cancerous) in the bones are more common than bone cancers. When bone cancer is found, it is either bone (as in primary bone cancer) or spread to the bones after appearing elsewhere (malignant tumor or secondary cancer that has spread to the bones). In fact, when cancer is detected in the bone, it is most often a malignant tumor that begins in another organ or part of the body and then spreads to the bone. This type of cancer that has spread to the bone is called the place where the original cancer started (for example, metastatic prostate cancer that spread to the bones). Breast, prostate and lung cancer are among the types of cancer that usually extend to the bones at an advanced stage. Often, cancer in the bone can begin as a primary cancer of the bone, and this is the actual bone cancer. Primary and metastatic bone cancer is often treated differently and has a different diagnosis.
There are other cancers that can start in the bones even if they are not considered real bone cancer. Lymphoma is a cancer of the cells responsible for the immune response to the body. Lymph nodes usually begin in the lymph nodes, but sometimes start in the bone marrow. Multiple myeloma is another cancer of the immune cells that usually begins in the bone marrow. These tumors are not considered primary cancers of bones because they do not come from real bone cells.
a. Risk Factors
Approximately 2,300 cases of bone cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. Primary bone cancers are not common and represent less than 1% of all cancers. Bone cancer is more common in children and young adults. Cancer in the bones of the elderly has usually spread to the bones after they have originated in another part of the body.
The risk factors for bone cancer are the following:
- Previous treatment with radiation therapy
- Former chemotherapy with drugs known as alkylating agents
- The mutation in a gene is known as the retinal gene (RBI) or other gene
- Associated disorders, such as hereditary retinal tumor, Paget’s bone disease, Le Fraumeni syndrome, Thompson-Routhmund syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, and Blackfan anemia.
- Metal implants for the repair of front fractures
Pain is the most common symptom of bone cancer. Bone pain may develop initially at certain times of the day, often at night or with physical activity. Pain tends to progress and worsens over time. Sometimes, pain may exist for years before an injured person requests treatment. Sometimes bone cancer is detected by mistake when X-rays or imaging studies are performed for another reason. Sometimes you feel lump, swelling or lumps around the bone cancer area. Bone fractures can also occur at the site of bone cancer because of weak underlying bone structure. Symptoms are often caused by pressure or disruption of nerves and blood vessels in the affected area. These symptoms can include numbness, tingling, tenderness or low blood flow outside the tumor site, causing cold hand or foot with weak or absent impulse.