Doctor's Notes on Bone Cancer
Bone cancer is cancer that arises in the bone cells. Although many types of cancer can spread via the bloodstream, or metastasize, to the bones, true bone cancer (primary bone cancer) is bone cancer that begins in the bones rather than spreading to them. There are a number of different kinds of bone cancer. The cause of bone cancer is not completely understood, but it likely involves a combination of genetic factors as well as environmental influences.
Signs and symptoms associated with bone cancer depend to some extent on the type and location of the cancer. Bone pain, that is often worse at night, is a characteristic symptom. Other symptoms and signs of bone cancer can include breaks or fractures of the bone, swelling of the involved area, numbness, tingling, or feeling a lump in the bone.
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Bone Cancer FactsPrimary bone cancer is rare. Most bone cancers originate from some other type of cancer that migrates to the bones, which contains marrow that produces blood cells and their precursors, vital to the immune system. Metastatic bone cancer is treated by the chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, or radiation that the primary cancer has proved sensitive to.
ChemotherapyChemotherapy or "chemo" is a treatment for cancer. Depending on the type of cancer an individual has, it can cure cancer, control cancer. or ease cancer symptoms. There are a variety of cancer drugs. There are a number of support groups to assist chemotherapy patients gain the help they need to move through this very trying treatment.
Paget's DiseasePaget's disease of bone is a disorder in which there is an excessive amount of bone resorption followed by a more excessive amount of new bone formation. The causes of this bone disorder are unknown, and most people with Paget's disease have no symptoms. Treatment aims to relive pain and reduce the amount of bone turnover.
X-RaysX-Rays are a form of radiation used to image solid forms inside the body. X-rays are administered by radiologists for many different routine tests, such as mammograms, checking for broken bones, upper GI series, and dental exams, among others. Radiologists carefully monitor the X-ray equipment to make sure the patient receives the smallest dose of radiation possible.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.