Bone cancer is a particularly difficult and severe type of cancer. It is caused when there is a problem with the cells which make bones. Every year in the United States, over two thousand people are diagnosed with this type of cancer, in the form of a bone tumor. These frequently occur in children and adolescents. They are less common in adults, especially as they get older, but they do occur. Metastatic bone cancer is more common in adults. This is a type of cancer which spreads to the bone from another cancer site.
There are several different types of bone cancer; there are six common ones, beginning with osteosarcoma. It is the most common type of malignant bone cancer. It occurs more often in males who are between the ages of ten and twenty five, though it does occur in adults older than twenty five as well. Typically, the bone tumors occur in the long bones of the arms and legs, around the knees and shoulders. This type of cancer has a high risk of spreading to the lungs. Its five year survival rate runs at approximately sixty five percent.
Ewing’s sarcoma is a very aggressive type of bone cancer, typically occurring in children between the ages of four and fifteen. Again, it is more commonly seen in males. It rarely occurs in people over the age of thirty. It usually shows up in the midpoint of the long bones in the arms and legs. In the event that the cancer has not spread to the lungs or other parts of the body, its three year survival rate is approximately sixty five percent.
Chondrosarcoma is responsible for a quarter of all malignant tumors and is the second most common type of bone cancer. It occurs in cartilage cells and is incredibly unpredictable. The tumors can be either aggressive or slow in forming. In the case of the latter tumors, the survival rate is about ninety percent; for aggressive tumors, it has only a thirty percent five year survival rate.
Fibrosarcoma is a very rare type of bone cancer and occurs in adults between the ages of thirty five and fifty five. It generally shows up in the leg, behind the knee, and is more common in males. Chordoma is also very rare; the survival rate is not very often. It, too, is more common in males and typically occurs once the patient is over the age of thirty. There are also a number of benign bone tumors.
Bone cancer symptoms get worse over time. The most common symptom is pain. At first, it may occur more at night or when the patient is active. The signs of bone cancer may last for a few weeks, a few months, or even years. Sometimes, it is possible to feel the tumors, in the form of either a mass or a lump, generally right on the bone or in the tissue surrounding it.
Other bone cancer symptoms include fevers, chills, night sweats, and inexplicable weight loss. However, these signs are not very common unless the bone tumor has spread to other parts of the body. Sometimes there are no signs of bone cancer; sometimes there are no bone cancer symptoms. Frequently, it simply shows up in a routine check up; the same goes for metastatic bone cancer. Clearly, it is important to be diligent.