Bone Cancer

by unknown | 10:19 PM in |

Definition of Bone Cancer
Cancer that begins in the bone is called primary bone cancer. Primary bone cancer is relatively uncommon in comparison with secondary or metastatic cancer (cancer that occurs initially in another organ and then spreads to bone tissue).

Description of Bone Cancer
The bones in the body serve several purposes. They support and protect internal organs (for example, the skull protects the brain and the ribs protect the lungs). Muscles pull against the bones to make the body move. Bone marrow (the soft, spongy tissue in the center of many bones) makes and stores blood cells.

Cancer that begins is the bone is called primary bone cancer. It is found most often in the arms and legs, but it can occur in any bone in the body. Children and young people are more likely than adults to have bone cancer. Primary bone cancers are called often called sarcomas. There are several types of sarcoma. Each type begins in a different kind of bone tissue. The most common are osteosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma and chondrosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer in young people. It usually occurs between the ages of 10 and 25. Males are affected more often than females. Osteosarcoma often starts in the ends of bones, where new bone tissue forms as a young person grows. It usually affects the long bones of the arms or legs.

Ewing's sarcoma usually is found in people between 10 and 25 years of age; teenagers are most often affected. This cancer forms in the middle part (shaft) of large bones. It most often affects the hipbones and the long bones in the thigh and upper arm. It also occurs in the ribs.

Chondrosarcoma is found mainly in adults. This type of tumor forms in cartilage, the rubbery tissue around joints.

Cancers that begin in the bone are quite rare. On the other hand, it is not unusual for cancers to spread to the bones from other parts of the body. When this happens, the disease is not called primary bone cancer. Each type of cancer is named for the organ or the tissue in which it begins. Cancer that spreads is the same disease and has the same name as the original (or primary) cancer.

Treatment for cancer that has spread to the bones depends on where the cancer started and the extent of the spread. About 80 percent of these metastatic lesions are from primary carcinomas, particularly of the breast, prostate, lung, kidney, thyroid, pancreas and stomach.

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