Orthopaedic oncology refers to the branch of science that deals with and studies the malignant osteoid multilobular tumour of the bone. It involves the diagnosis and the treatment of the malignant tumour associated with the musculoskeletal system.
Although bone cancer can occur in any bone present in the body, it is most commonly noticed in the pelvis and the long bones present in the arms and the legs of the body. It is a very rare kind of disease, with only 1 per cent of the population being diagnosed with it. It is often noticed that non-cancerous bone tumours are diagnosed much more in comparison to cancerous bone tumours.
It is to be noted that the term bone cancer does not apply to the type of cancer which has its origin in some other body part but gradually spreads to the bone. Bone cancers particularly affect adults, while some can also be found in young children.
TYPES OF BONE CANCERS
This is a very rare type of cancer that can occur in the bones but can also be found in the soft tissues that are present near the bones. The body parts where this type of cancer is most commonly found in the pelvis, hip and shoulder. In rare cases, it can also be found in the spine bones.
Most chondrosarcomas have a very slow growth rate, but in rare cases, they can be very aggressive, spreading to different parts of the body at an alarming rate.
The treatment usually followed for this cancer is surgery. But in some cases, radiation therapy and chemotherapy can also be done.
A lump or swelling in a particular area
Control in the bowel and bladder systems.
People in old age are more at risk, even though it can occur at any age.
People suffering from any other bone diseases, like Ollier's disease or Maffucci's syndrome, are prone to contract chondrosarcoma.
2. EWING SARCOMA
This is a very rare type of cancer that is found in the bones or in the soft tissues that surround the bones. It is mostly diagnosed in the leg bones or the pelvis. In rare cases, it can be seen in the soft tissues of the chest, abdomen, limbs and other locations. Young children and teenagers are the most common victims of this cancer.
Swelling in the area that is affected
Unexplained weight loss
Family history. This type of cancer is most commonly found in people having European ancestry.
Even though people of any age are prone to this type of cancer, it is most likely to occur in children and teenagers.
This type of cancer has its origin in the cells that perform the function of forming the bones. These are usually diagnosed in the long bones and sometimes in the arms. The cancerous cells can form in the soft tissues present outside the bone in very rare cases. Young children, most commonly boys, are often diagnosed with this cancer.
The treatment for osteosarcoma encompasses chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery.
Pain in the bone or the joint
Bone injury or breakage of bones for no apparent reason
Swelling occurs near the bone that is affected.
Having other bone disorders, like Paget's disease of bone.
Any previous treatment that involved radiation therapy
Imaging tests such as the Bone Scan, CT scan (computerised tomography), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), PET (Positron emission tomography) and X-ray are often used to diagnose the size and the location of the bone tumour. It also helps in determining the spread of the tumour to other parts of the body. The doctors recommend a certain kind of imaging test based on the symptoms that the person is experiencing.
In some cases, the doctor can also suggest needle or surgical biopsies. In this method, a sample of tissue is removed from the tumour and is tested in the laboratory. The tests will help in determining the nature of cancer. It also helps in diagnosing the speed or the growth rate of the tumour.
The different types of biopsies used to determine bone cancers are as follows;
Insert the needle through the skin to the tumour to remove small pieces of tissues from the tumour.
Removal of a tissue sample by surgery for testing. In the surgical biopsy, the doctors perform an incision through the patient's skin. Through this method, the doctor removes either a part of the tumour or in some cases, even the whole tumour is removed.
Surgery is often suggested with the aim of removing the whole cancerous tumour. The specialist uses techniques where the tumour is removed in a single piece, and in some cases, a part of the healthy tissue that surrounds the tumour is also removed.
The bone tumours that are very large in size or are located in very complicated positions require surgery in order to remove and treat the affected area. In many cases, limb amputation is performed, but with development in other areas of treatment, limb amputation is becoming less common.
Chemotherapy is the method where the surgeon uses strong anti-drugs that are delivered into the body through veins. These drugs perform the function of killing cancerous cells. However, this form of treatment cannot be applied to all kinds of bone cancers. For example, chemotherapy is not advised in the case of chondrosarcoma.
Radiation therapy is the procedure where high power beams of energy are used in order to kill the cancer-causing cells. During this procedure, the patient lies on the table, and a machine moves around him/her. This machine aims the beams at the point in the body when the cancer cells are present.
This method is usually suggested before the operation as it helps in shrinking the size of the tumour, thereby making it easier to remove. This also reduces the likelihood of amputation being performed.
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