You might have already heard of primary bone cancer. Usually, when we talk about cancer we usually describe the situation when the disease begins to affect the bones of the body. This is what’s known as secondary, or metastatic, bone cancer. When tumors spread, they can attack any part of the bone’s structure.
But according to recent medical research, diagnosis of “primary bone cancer” is on the rise. This means the tumor originates directly in a particular bone.
As long as this disease is diagnosed fairly early, the survival rate can be good; hence the importance of information and prevention. Even amid the bad news, one positive thing about primary bone cancer is that it’s often easily diagnosed due to the presence of a very characteristic pain.
Today we’re going to talk about primary bone cancer, an issue that undoubtedly should concern us all.
What is primary bone cancer?Primary bone cancer isn’t all that common, being much less well known than other cancers like breast and colon cancer. But while low, the incidence is there and because patients often confuse their symptoms with other diseases, it’s important to get better information to the public.
This disease affects the body’s skeletal system, and the most commonly affected areas are bones that are close to the knee, femur, and tibia. It’s not related to secondary bone cancer that’s caused by metastases of other primary tumors. There are three types of primary bone cancer.
- Osteosarcoma is the most common type, which occurs primarily in adolescents who are still growing – it attacks new bone tissue as it develops.
- Chrondrosarcoma usually appears in adults between 40 to 60 years of age, always originating in the cartilage surrounding the bone.
- Ewing’s sarcoma is also commonly seen in younger children, because their nervous tissue is immature and can lead to the appearance of small sarcomas along the bone marrow. It also has a strong hereditary component, meaning it can be prevented, and responds well to radiation-based treatments.
Symptoms of primary bone cancerIn today’s article we’re going to focus on the type of primary bone cancer that affects adults, or chrondroscarcoma. As we said above, the symptoms can often be confused with those of other disorders (arthritis, inflammation, osteoporosis), hence the importance of defining some of the basic characteristics of the symptoms.
Very localized pain
- Certainly there are days when your knees will ache more than usual. It could be linked to simple fatigue, where daily wear has started to bother you and you take an anti-inflammatory to relieve the pain. But the pain that’s associated with primary bone cancer is much worse, and more localized.
- As we’ve said before, pay attention to how your knee joints, tibia, and femur feel, because nearly 70% of the time chrondrosarcoma appears in these regions.
- Pain in the knees or leg bones can be so severe that even the touch of clothing is too much to bear. The pain is intense, like a burning disc, and even medication hardly offers relief.
- When a tumor is growing on a bone, it’s also invading the tissues that surround the bone itself or the nearby joint. There is a characteristic thickening in the region that should be a sign that something’s wrong. It’s more than just simple inflammation – when you touch it, you’ll notice it’s much more dense than the classic swelling that something like arthritis causes.
- Inflammation and the accumulation of tissue caused by the growth of the tumor are usually accompanied by a fever. So as you can see, the symptoms of chrondrosarcoma are very obvious, so as soon as you see any of the above you should check with your doctor as soon as possible to ensure you treat this disease as early as possible.
- Remember never to self-medicate yourself. It’s important that you don’t mask any symptoms with drugs so that you’re aware of any changes.
- Fractures in the bone appear in the later stages of this cancer, once the tumor has weakened the bone and caused cracks or breaks to form. Before you get to this point, your body will have already shown various symptoms like acute pain, fatigue, inflammation, and fever.
- That’s why it’s so important that you pay attention to all these indicators. While primary bone cancer is rare, your biggest risk comes from confusing it with other disorders and not going to the doctor as soon as you experience the symptoms. Pay attention to pain in your knees and always seek a proper medical diagnosis to rule out more serious problems.