A healthy individual has over 200 bones, which include:
- Internal organs need to be supported and protected.
- Are connected to muscles in order to allow them to move
- Bone marrow is a tissue that creates and stores new blood cells.
- Proteins, minerals, and nutrients, such as calcium, are stored.
A hard outer layer (Cortical & Compact Bone) and a spongy inner core make up a bone (Trabecular & Cancellous Bone). This spongy core houses the bone marrow. Cartilage is a strong substance found at the ends of bones that permits them to slide against one another. A joint is the name for this meeting place.
Bone cells are divided into three types:
- Osteoblasts are the cells responsible for the formation of new bone.
- Osteoclasts eat away at old bone and disintegrate it.
- Osteocytes transport nutrients and waste materials from the bloodstream to the bone.
Bone is a tissue that is always in motion. New bone tissue replaces old bone tissue on a regular basis (remodelled). In the process of bone remodelling, hormones, minerals, and bone cells all play a part. The force of gravity and muscles on the bones cause variations in the calcium levels in the blood.
Although your bones appear to be strong, they are made up of a variety of hard and soft tissues, any of which might be impacted by bone cancer. Any malignant (cancerous) cells or tumours that originate in these tissues are referred to as bone cancer, as opposed to cancer that begins elsewhere in the body and travels to the bone. This illness, known as “primary bone-cancer,” is not only life-threatening, but it is also extremely rare, accounting for fewer than 1% of all malignancies in the United States.
What are Bone Metastases?
Cancer that begins in the bone is not the same as cancer that spreads to the bone. Primary bone cancer is cancer that begins in the bone. Primary bone malignancies include osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma, among others.
Bone cells do not make up a tumour that has metastasized to the bone. Bone metastases are formed by cancer cells that have spread from the original (primary) tumour location. Lung cancer cells, for example, are made up of lung cancer cells that have migrated to the bone. The bone metastasis in this scenario would be referred to as metastatic lung cancer. Metastatic bone-cancer is far more frequent in adults than primary bone-cancer.
These areas are frequently affected by cancer cells that have migrated to the bone:
- The limbs (upper arm and upper leg bones)
- Scrotum (hipbones)
- Cage with ribs
What is Secondary Bone-Cancer, and How does it affect You?
Cancer that starts in another region of the body might travel to the bones in rare cases. Secondary, advanced, or metastatic bone-cancer is the term for this type of malignancy. Primary bone-cancer is cancer that starts in the bones. Cancer cells can travel via the circulation or lymphatic system and spread to other locations. The cancer cells that move from a primary malignancy to various regions of your body generally appear the same.
If breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones will still look like breast cancer cells. Sometimes, before the original cancer is identified, a secondary cancer in the bone is discovered. Cancer of unknown primary is a term used when doctors are unable to determine where the cancer began to develop.
Osteosarcoma is a bone-cancer that affects people of all ages.
- In children and teenagers, osteosarcoma is the most prevalent form of bone-cancer.
- The femur and tibia in the upper and lower leg, and the humerus in the upper arm, are the most common sites for this malignancy to develop.
- Flat bones that support and protect important organs, such as the pelvic and skull bones, can also be affected.
- By the time osteosarcoma is identified, it has progressed to around 15 to 20 percent of patients. It usually affects the lungs, but other bones might be affected as well (beyond the initial site).
The most prevalent kind of bone-cancer in children is osteosarcoma, which accounts for roughly 3% of all malignancies. While other cancers can ultimately extend to sections of the skeleton, osteosarcoma is one of the few that starts in the bones and then spreads (or metastasizes) to other regions of the body, most often the lungs or other bones.
Because osteosarcoma is caused by osteoblasts (the cells that form developing bone), it is most frequent among teenagers going through a growth spurt. Boys are more prone than girls to develop osteosarcoma, and the majority of cases involve the knee.
During periods of rapid bone development, most osteosarcomas are caused by random and unexpected mistakes in the DNA of developing bone cells. There is no effective strategy to avoid this form of cancer at the moment. Most children with osteosarcoma recover with proper diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of Bone Cancer (Osteoporosis)
The symptoms of bone-cancer differ based on the disease’s size and location in the body. Bone cancer that develops from the inside out is quite uncommon. Your symptoms are considerably more likely to be caused by another issue. However, you should see your doctor if you have any symptoms. From another source, cancer can travel to your bones. Secondary or metastatic bone-cancer is the term used to describe this situation. Secondary bone cancer can manifest itself in a variety of ways.
Symptoms that are Common
Even while you’re resting, you could experience discomfort or soreness. The discomfort is usually worst at night while you’re in bed. You may experience discomfort in a different region of your body than where the tumour is located. This is known as referred pain.
You may have some swelling, but a lump may not always be visible or feelable.
Getting around issues
Moving around may be more difficult, and you may walk with a limp.
Symptoms that are Less Prevalent
I’m Exhausted (Fatigue)
Even if you receive a decent night’s sleep, you may feel more exhausted than normal.
A Scorching Heat (Fever)
You may have a fever and sweats, as well as a high temperature.
A Broken or Weaker Bone
A fracture might be the result of a weaker bone. This is known as a pathological fracture, and it is quite uncommon.
Loss of Weight
Even if you don’t modify your diet, you could lose weight.
Primary Bone Cancer Risk Factors
Although the origins of most primary bone cancers are unclear, several factors might increase the risk of developing the disease.
The following are examples of risk factors:
- Radiation therapy (also known as irradiation) for cancer patients increases the chance of acquiring primary bone-cancer. People who get large doses of radiation therapy while they are young are at a higher risk. The vast majority of patients who get radiation therapy do not acquire primary bone-cancer.
- Other bone diseases – persons with Paget’s disease of the bone, dysplasia, or numerous enchondromas are more likely to have primary bone-cancer. According to certain research, persons who have had a soft tissue sarcoma are more likely to acquire primary bone-cancer.
- Some hereditary disorders, such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, enhance the chance of developing bone-cancer. People with a significant family history of some cancers are at an increased risk. For additional information, contact a family cancer clinic.
Secondary Bone Cancer Risk Factors
Cancer cells from elsewhere in the body move to the bone, resulting in secondary bone-cancer. Why some people get secondary bone-cancer while others don’t is a mystery.
The type of cancer you have, the stage of the illness, your general health, and your preferences all influence your treatment choices for bone cancer. Different types of bone cancer react to different therapies, and your doctor can advise you on the best option for you. Some bone tumours, for example, are treated solely with surgery, while others are treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment.