Bone cancer facts
- The majority of cancer involving the bones is metastatic disease from other remote cancers. Primary bone cancer is much rarer.
- Not all bone tumors are cancerous.
- The most common symptom of bone cancer is pain. The pain is usually mild initially and gradually becomes more intense.
- Treatment of bone cancer includes a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
- Treatment is based on the size and location of the cancer and whether or not the cancer has spread from the bone to surrounding tissues.
What are bones for?
Your body has 206 bones. These bones serve many different functions. First, your bones provide structure to your body and help provide its shape. Muscles attach to the bones and allow you to move. Without the bones, your body would be an unstructured pile of soft tissues and you would be unable to stand, walk, or move.
Second, the bones help to protect the more fragile organs of the body. For example, the bones of the skull protect the brain, the vertebrae of the spine protect the spinal cord, and the ribs protect the heart and lungs.
Third, the bones contain bone marrow, which produces and stores new blood cells.
Finally, the bones help control your body’s collection of various proteins and nutrients including calcium and phosphorus.
What is cancer?
Your body is made up of many small structures called cells. There are many different types of cells that grow to form the different parts of your body. During normal growth and development, these cells continuously grow, divide, and make new cells. This process continues throughout life even after you are no longer growing. The cells continue to divide and make new cells to replace old and damaged cells. In a healthy person, the body is able to control the growth and division of cells according to the needs of the body. Cancer is when this normal control of cells is lost and the cells begin to grow and divide in an uncontrolled manner. The cells also become abnormal and have altered functions in patients with cancer. The cancer cells can become very destructive to the surrounding cells and can invade normal organs and tissues, disrupting their function.
There are many different type of cancer. The cancer is usually named based on the type of cell from which the cancer initially grows. For example, lung cancer is caused by uncontrolled cells that form the lungs and breast cancer by cells that form the breast.