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Types of Primary Bone Cancer

Treatment for Bone Cancer: Bone Marrow Transplant

Once a tumour is discovered in a person’s body after primarily test, sometimes it becomes a difficult task for the doctor to conclude whether it is primary or secondary type of cancer. It is vital for the consulting doctor to determine whether cancer is primary or secondary. If cancer cells start developing in the bone itself, it is known as primary (original) bone cancer. Though primary bone cancer is rare but it does happen in some of the cancer patients.

Diagnosis of Primary Bone Cancer

Mostly several tests are conducted to determine the exact location of the growth that is, to find out where the cancerous cells started to develop and grow. Using specialized diagnostic tests, a pathologist is often able to tell where the cancer cells came from.

Markers or antigens found in or on the cancer cells can indicate the primary site of the cancer. Confirming the type, stage and grade of a particular cancer  helps the doctors to decide the best kind of treatment.

There are two main possible reasons that makes it tough to diagnose a primary cancer.

Firstly when the primary cancer spot is very small and cannot be seen in imaging test or may be hidden beside a larger secondary cancer.

The second possibility is when it might have disappeared, after it has spread to other parts of the body and the secondary cancer is still growing. This can sometimes happen if the body’s immune system has successfully got rid of it.

Common Types of Primary Bone Cancer

1.  Osteosarcoma

It is also known as Osteogenic Sarcoma arises from osteoid tissue in the bone and is the second most common type of bone cancer. This tumour usually spread in the body where bones are most actively growing (growth plates), the lower end of the thighbone (femur), and the upper end of the lower leg bone (tibia), knee and upper arm bone (humerus) and pelvis.

  • Osteosarcoma occurs mostly in children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 30 years.

  • 50% of this tumour develops in or around the knee.

  • Chances of developing Osteosarcoma in people after 60 yrs are very less. It is quit exceptional in middle-aged people.

  • Osteosarcoma is seen more often in people with a history of Paget’s disease of the bone, retinoblastoma and previous radiation therapy.

  • There are several rare subtypes of osteosarcoma, including parosteal osteosarcoma periosteal osteosarcoma, peripheral conventional osteosarcoma, small cell osteosarcoma.

2.  Chondrosarcoma

The second most common type of bone cancer starts in cartilage cells and is called chondrosarcoma. Cartilage pads the ends of bones and lines the joints.

  • Chondrosarcoma occurs most often in the pelvis (located between the hip bones), upper leg, and shoulder.

  • Middle-aged and older people are more likely to develop chondrosarcoma.

  • It occurs equally in males and females.

  • Most chondrosarcoma are low or intermediate grade.

3.  Ewing Sarcoma

The Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumours (ESFTs), is the third most common primary bone cancer which generally begins in the cavities of the bones where the bone marrow is produced (the medullary cavities). However this can also start in soft tissue (muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue).

  • ESFTs occur most commonly along the backbone, pelvis, legs, arms and the skull.

  • ESFTs mostly strikes adolescents and young adults.

  • Males are more likely to develop ESFTs than females.

  • ESFTs grow and spread rapidly.

  • Chemotherapy is given to all Ewing Sarcoma patents and mostly they respond well to the treatment.

4. Other Rare Malignant Bone Tumours

There are few other types of rare malignant bone tumours, including the following.

Fibrosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma (MFH) of the bone most often develop in the long bones of the arms and legs and in the jaw. They occur most often in middle-aged and older adults.

Chordoma is another rare tumour. It tends to develop at the end of the spinal column, usually in the sacrum (middle of the base of the spine), tailbone or near the base of the skull. It is a slow-growing tumour. It does not usually spread to other bones but it can recur after treatment.

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