Bone Cancer Treatment

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Bone cancer treatment can help a bone cancer patient survive deadly battle against cancer. Bone cancer treatments are extremely complicated. The treatment last over a long period of time. Even the pre -treatment and post-treatment period is long and can be mentally and physically agonizing or frustrating. Nevertheless if you want to survive against bone cancer these treatment are a must.

Bone cancer diagnosis: Diagnosis plays an important role in bone cancer treatment. Bone cancer is often brought to notice with symptoms like pain of the joints or bones, recurrent or chronic pain, radiating pain that affects the organs near the affected bones, bone fractures, weakness and fatigue.

These symptoms require a deeper diagnosis. A doctor may ask you to undergo a series of tests like,

  • X-ray test
  • Blood tests like complete blood count or Alkaline phosphatase tests
  • Bone scan test
  • MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging test
  • CT scan or computed tomography scan
  • Bone lesion biopsy test

Bone Cancer Treatment These tests will decide the nature of the tumor. It can be benign or malignant tumor. Benign tumors do not spread to other organs whereas malignant tumors may spread to other organs. The tests will help decide if it is primary bone cancer or secondary bone cancer. Primary bone cancer originates from the bone that is affected. Secondary bone cancer originates from cancer of other organs and spread to the bone. It may also spread from the bone to other surrounding tissues and cartilages

Once an accurate diagnosis is done treatment is decided. Treatment generally includes chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This is followed by surgery. In extreme cases, surgery is performed to remove the affected bones and even the limbs. Thus one risks losing limb. For this reason alone it important to detect the cancer as early as possible.

Bone cancer treatment: The first line of defense is chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Even if surgery is the last and final solution in most cases of bone cancer, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may help in pre surgery and post surgery management of the cancer Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is used to destroy and damage the DNA of the cancer causing cells. It can shrink the size of tumors. Radiation therapy can be administered internally or externally. Internally given radiation is known as brachytherapy and externally given radiation is known as external beam radiotherapy. It reduces cell division. It is especially useful to reduce the size of tumors surrounding the bones and to prevent further spreading of the tumor.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is interventional method to reduce the size of cancerous tumors. It is extremely effective in reducing the number of cancer cells. It works by killing and damaging cells that multiply quickly. Often combination chemotherapy i.e. use of multiple chemical drugs is used to treat cancer.

Cryotherapy: Cryotherapy is used to flash kill the cancer cells. It works by using liquid nitrogen to freeze the tumors. Freezing action kills the cells thereby destroying the tumor. However, it is effective only in certain cases where the tumors do not spread and are small localized formations.

It should be noted that chemotherapy, radiation therapy or cryotherapy are NOT useful in all types of bone cancer. It is however, useful in treating certain types of bone cancers like Ewing's sarcoma.

In most probability, a combination of all these therapies will be used along with surgery to get rid of the cancer.

Surgery: In many forms of bone cancer, surgery is the only alternative. Often the bone structure is heavily affected and there may be no alternative but to remove the bone or the part that has been affected. If the surrounding tissues, cartilage or muscles are affected severely along with the bone, then the body part such as limb may have to be amputated.

Surgery can be limb saving or limb sparing surgery. It tries to save the limb from amputation by techniques like bone grafting. Bone grafting involves replacing the affected bone with bone from another part of the body. In some cases artificial bone may be used. In techniques like rotationplasty, patients own foot is used to replace his knee joint. However, this results in losing the foot.

Surgery may not be able to save the limb in all cases. In such cases, limb amputation surgery is performed. Radical as this sound, the patient's life may depend on the surgery.

Bone cancer treatment is thus extremely complex but they are necessary if one has to save a person's life. Bone cancer does not have any one shot cure, however, research is going on bone cancer and someday there might be a firm and final cure in hand.

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