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Bone Cancer

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The management of bone cancer involves a multi-disciplinary team of specialists that collaborate with each other to provide patients the best evidence-based treatment options.

What is bone cancer?

Bone cancer is a cancerous tumor of the bone that grows and compresses normal bone tissue. Primary bone cancer (cancer than begins in the bones) is much less common than cancer that spreads to the bones from elsewhere in the body (metastatic).

Who develops bone cancer?

The most common types of bone cancer include:

  • osteosarcoma: occurs most commonly among children and adolescents; it’s common in the pelvis, arms or legs
  • chondrosarcoma: occurs mainly in adults age 40 or older and is a cancer that affects cartilage cells (tissue that connects the bones)
  • Ewing sarcoma: occurs most often in children and adolescents age 19 or younger (boys are affected more often than girls); it may affect the bones, pelvis, chest wall, legs or arms

What are the symptoms of bone cancer?

Symptoms may include:

  • fatigue
  • pain
  • swelling near a joint
  • weight loss

How is bone cancer diagnosed?

Your doctor may perform a physical exam, imaging tests (such as an X-ray, a computed tomography [CT] scan or a magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] scan). If your symptoms and imaging test results suggest cancer, a sample of the tumor will be removed (called a biopsy) and examined under the microscope to determine if the tumor is cancerous. It will also distinguish if the cancer started in the bone or spread from another part of the body.

How is bone cancer treated?

Treatment for bone cancer varies depending on a variety of factors, including the tumor’s size and location, its stage and your individual health. Treatment options may include a combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and other drug treatments.

To learn more about cancer services at The Daniel and Gloria Blumenthal Cancer Center, call 201-634-5339.

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