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About Bone Cancer

Bones are the third most common location where cancer cells spread and metastasize.

Each year, about 100,000 cases of bone metastasis are reported in the United States. Bone metastases occur when cancer cells reach the bone marrow and multiply.

Facts About Bone Cancer

Following are some facts about bone cancer:

  • The majority of cancer involving the bones is metastatic disease from other remote cancers. Primary bone cancer is much rarer.
  • The most common primary bone tumors include osteosarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, chondrosarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, fibrosarcoma, and chordoma.
  • Primary bone tumors occur most commonly in children and adolescents and are less common in older adults.

Risk Factors

The following risk factors can make you more likely to develop bone cancer:

  • Genetic disorders (typically associated with osteosarcomas)
  • Family history
  • Radiation
  • Paget Disease

Symptoms of Bone Cancer

  • Bone pain affects 70 percent of patients with bone metastases
  • Bone fracture
  • Spinal cord compression
  • Fever, night chills, night sweats, and weight loss can occur but are less common

These symptoms may be caused by other illnesses also. If you have any of these symptoms, consult your primary care physician to determine the cause.

Imaging Exams for Detecting Bone Cancer

X-Rays, CT scans, MRIs, and bone scans may be used to assess the bones so that the radiologist can identify tumors. A biopsy may be performed to test a sample of the tumor.

Radiology and Interventional Procedures for Treating Bone Cancer

Surgery – Surgery is often used to treat bone cancer. The goal of surgery is usually to remove the entire tumor and a surrounding area of normal bone.

Less invasive techniques performed by interventional radiologists include radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and cryoablation. These are non-surgical, localized treatments that target the tumor, sparing the healthy tissue.

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