25 April 2022, Monday

How Does Bone Cancer Affect The Body?

How common is bone cancer in adults


Bone cancer can start inside any bone, but it is most often detected in the hip and long bones (arms and legs). Bone cancer is very rare, making up less than 1% of all cancers. Moreover, noncancerous bone tumors are significantly more common than cancerous ones.

A few types of bone cancer are more prevalent in children, whereas others are more common in adults. There are chances that bone cancer spreads beyond its origin and affects other body parts. However, if diagnosed on time, a proper cure can be started promptly.

Let’s know about some basics of bone cancer and how it affects your body.

What are the types of Bone Cancer?

The most dangerous type of bone cancer is primary bone cancer. It originates directly in the bones or surrounding tissue, such as cartilage.

Cancer can also move to your bones from another part of your body, known as metastasis. Secondary bone cancer is a rare bone cancer than initial bone cancer.

The following are examples of primary bone cancers:

Multiple myeloma (MM) – The most prevalent type of bone cancer is multiple myeloma. When cancer cells develop in the bone marrow, they cause tumors to form in numerous bones. Most people with MM are above the age of 50.

Osteosarcoma (Osteogenic Sarcoma) – Osteosarcoma, also known as osteogenic sarcoma, is a type of bone cancer that mostly affects children and adolescents but can also affect adults. It typically begins at the long bones in the arms and legs.

Osteosarcoma can begin in the hips, shoulders, or other parts of the body. It damages the hard tissue that makes up your bones’ outer layer.

Chondrosarcoma – Chondrosarcoma is a type of cancer that affects older people’s pelvis, thighs, and shoulders. It develops in the tough connective tissue between your bones, known as subchondral tissue. The second most frequent primary malignancy of the bones is osteosarcoma.

Ewing’s sarcoma – It is rare cancer that starts in the soft tissues surrounding the bones or in the bones themselves in children and young adults. The pelvis and long bones of the body, such as the arms and legs, are frequently impacted.

What are the causes and risk factors of bone cancer?

Although the specific etiology of bone cancer is unknown, certain variables may contribute to or enhance a person’s risk of developing abnormal bone growths. These are some of them:

Abnormal cellular development –

Healthy cells divide and replace older cells regularly. They perish after finishing this process. Normal cells, on the other hand, live on. They can generate tissue lumps that develop into tumors.

Radiation therapy –

Radiation therapy, which kills cancer cells, can treat bone cancer. However, some patients who undergo the therapy may develop osteosarcoma. Using high doses of radiation may impact cancer development.

One or more of the following risk factors can cause bone cancer:

  • Having had multiple tumors in the cartilage, which is the connective tissue in the bone, having had a family history of cancer, especially bone cancer.
  • Having received radiation treatment or therapy in the past, having Paget’s disease, which is a condition that causes the bones to break down and then grow back abnormally currently or previously having Paget’s disease.

How does it spread and affects your body?

Doctors categorize primary bone cancer into phases. These stages define where the cancer is, what it is doing, and how far it has spread across the body.

  • The bone cancer in stage 1 doesn’t spread beyond the bone.
  • Although stage 2 bone cancer has not spread, it has the potential to become invasive, posing a hazard to other tissues.
  • Stage 3 bone cancer is invasive and has spread to one or more sections of the bone.
  • Stage 4 bone cancer has progressed to the surrounding tissues and other organs, including the lungs or brain.

As cancer grows and expands, it reaches the next stage and affects other body parts. The tumor can spread and destroy the bone and nearby tissue. It can spread to other body parts, especially the lungs if it enters the bloodstream through metastasis.

Hence, it can disrupt its normal functioning when it reaches other body parts.



    Your doctor may use the various approaches to predict the stage of cancers in the bones:

    • A biopsy is a procedure that involves analyzing a small sample of tissue to diagnose malignancy.
    • A bone scan that examines the state of the bones.
    • A blood test imaging testing that combines X-rays, MRI, and CT scans to gain detailed pictures of the structure of the bone.


    The following aspects influence bone cancer treatment:

    • The cancer stage.
    • Your age
    • Your overall health
    • The tumor’s size and location

    We can use following methods as a treatment:


    Bone cancer is treated with the following medications:

    • Pain relievers for patients with multiple myeloma who are undergoing chemotherapy.
    • Bisphosphonate – These are drugs that protect the bones’ structure and help prevent bone loss.
    • Cytotoxic medicines that inhibit or stop malignant cell growth.


    – Radiation therapy

    To eliminate cancer cells, your doctor may propose radiation therapy.

    – Surgery

    Your doctor may do surgery to remove tumors or damaged tissue. Surgery to remove and replace damaged bone is one option for preventing cancers from spreading quickly. Amputation of the arms or legs may be necessary if there is severe bone injury.

    – Alternative theory

    Your doctor may decide to include alternative therapies, such as herbal remedies, in your treatment plan. However, because some alternative treatments may conflict with chemotherapy and radiation treatments, this must be done with caution.


    Bone cancer can be successfully treated if it is diagnosed timely.

    Sometimes, others with bone cancer may need to continue treatment, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, to prevent the disease from spreading. To control cancer, these treatments may be continued forever.

    It’s critical to check in with your doctor frequently for indicators that the cancer is returning (recurrent) or spreading. You can book an appointment with our experts to know more about bone cancer.

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    Dr. Chetan Anchan

    MS - Orthopaedics, Diploma in Orthopaedics,

    FCPS - Mid. & Gynae, MBBS

    About Author - Dr. Chetan Anchan is an expert and well known orthopaedic surgeon and oncologist from Mumbai. He has a vast experience in treating all types of Malignant and Benign, Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors, and Skeletal Metastases.

    To book an appointment, call: +91 – 93244 27302

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