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Bone Cancer Prognosis


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Bone cancer prognosis refers to the outcome of the bone disease. Prognosis predicts or establishes the factors that the patient of cancer may have to contend with if he suffers from bone cancer. Knowing life expectancy is helpful to predict bone cancer prognosis rate.

Bone cancer is a rare but extremely serious disease. It affects the skeletal or bone structure. The potential of bone cancer is that it can greatly damage the whole bone structure as well as organs near the bone. There is also a risk of bone cancer spreading to other vital organs of the body if it becomes malignant.

Following factors affect the prognosis of bone cancer

Symptoms: The symptoms of bone cancer are pain, swelling, presence of tumors or inflammation, joint pains and possibility of bone fractures or bone deformities. The bone structure weakens causing effects like tiredness, fatigue and weakness. Patients may also feel anxiety, nausea and depression. Often they feel the urge to vomit or suffer from stomach or gastrointestinal disorders.

Diagnosis: Diagnosis of cancer is complicated and costly. It involves advanced techniques like MRI or magnetic resonance imaging or bone lesion biopsy or bone scans. Doctors have to take help of X-rays and CT scans too to get the location and extent of the bone cancer. Based on the finding of these tests patients has to undergo treatments.

Treatment: Treatment of bone cancers is relatively more complex than other cancers. This is because bone cancer lies deep within the bone and affects not only the bone but also the surrounding tissues or cartilage. Bone cancer if diagnosed late can lead to extreme surgeries like limb amputation. Treatments are costly and involve extensive chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery as well as rehabilitation or post surgery cancer management treatments

All of these have a severe effect, not only on physical health but also the mental health of the patient.

Physical effects: Bone Cancer PrognosisA bone cancer patient may have to contend with loss of organ or limb. Even if a limb sparing or limb saving surgery is performed, surgery itself may damage delicate organs. Often recovery takes a huge time. It can lead to general weakening of the organ. This is very physical or occupational therapy or rehabilitation may be required to help the patient achieve a normal life.

The patient may have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy. These therapies have their own side effects. The patient may suffer from reduced immunity or susceptibility to other diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, hair loss, disfigurement as well as skin problems. Cognitive or sensory impairment is possible in some patients. In severe cases, bone cancer may cause infertility, loss of multiple organs and in some cases even death.

Treatment to manage adverse physical effects of bone cancer includes exercise and physiotherapy, drugs to manage pain and side effects such as gastro intestinal disorders. The good news is that over 60% of patients do manage to survive cancer if detected in the first stage. In most cases, recurrence can be prevented and management of bone cancer pre and post treatment has become a lot easier

Mental effects: The complex nature of bone cancer, its diagnosis or screening and treatments make it difficult for the patient to keep his morale high. A patient may suffer from pre or post treatment anxiety, depression, tiredness and fatigue. Some of these mental effects are caused due to the side effects of the treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Some effects are simply the symptoms of bone cancer or they simply stem from the cancer itself.

It may become difficult for the patient to keep an optimistic or positive attitude towards the treatment. Often the treatment is painful and in extreme cases deals with surgeries like limb amputation that may be extremely traumatic and frustrating. It can lead to severe depression.

Patients may lose all hope of cure or survival if they are announced as terminally ill. This leads to reduction in quality of life and general happiness, not only for the patient but also for his or her family.

Other effects: Prolonged treatments mean taking leave from school or office. A patient may have to admit himself to special care centers or hospitals. A person may have to go to a palliative care centre of physiotherapy post treatment. Cancer treatments in general are extremely costly. This adds to the mental fatigue. The needs of terminally ill patients are often misunderstood and this may lead to anger and frustration among these patients.

Irrespective of what the bone cancer prognosis may be, it is important to treat the patient with care and affection. It is important to help him become emotionally as well as physically stronger to fight this disease.

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