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Bone Cancer (cont.)

Bone Cancer Treatment

Treatment for bone cancer depends on the type of cancer, the location of the tumor, and the stage of the cancer. The main types of treatment include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. In some cases, a combination of one or more of these treatments may be recommended.

Surgery is the most common treatment for bone cancer. The goal of surgery is to remove the entire area of cancer and a surrounding layer of normal bone to help prevent recurrence of the cancer. Depending on the amount of bone removed, the surgeon my replace some of the bone with other normal bone grafts, bone cement, or artificial joints. The specimen that is removed during surgery is studied by the pathologist to verify that a complete layer of normal bone cells surrounds the cancer. If the cancer is not completely removed with a layer of normal cells surrounding it, there is a higher risk of leaving behind some cancer cells that can continue to grow in the body. In this case, your physician may recommend an additional surgery or another treatment. In some cases, the surgery cannot remove the entire cancer with a surrounding layer of normal tissue. This may be due to surrounding nerves or blood vessels that cannot be removed. In some of these cases, an amputation of the involved limb may be necessary to completely remove the cancer.

Chemotherapy may be used in some cases of bone cancer. The medications are used to help kill the cancer cells. It may be used to help shrink the cancer cells prior to surgery to allow for a less extensive surgery. It may be used after surgery to help kill any remaining cancer cells left behind following surgery.

Radiation therapy involves using high energy X-ray beams to help kill the cancer cells. This is often given through a series of treatments over weeks or months. As with chemotherapy, radiation therapy can be used either before or after surgery.

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