Bone Tumors

A tumor is an area of tissue that forms when cells divide in an uncontrollable manner.  It can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).  Tumors can appear anywhere in the body, including in or on bones and joints.  Not all bone tumors are cancerous.  The majority of cancer involving the bones is metastatic disease from other remote cancers.  Primary bone cancer is rare.

The most common symptom of bone cancer is pain.  Usually the pain is mild initially and gradually becomes more intense.

Treatment of bone cancer includes a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.  Treatment is based on the size and location of the cancer and whether or not the cancer has spread from the bone to surrounding tissues.

Newer surgical techniques have decreased the need for amputation.  In many cases the tumor can be removed and, depending on the amount of bone removed, the surgeon will replace something in its location.  This may be either bone cement or a bone graft for a small area or for larger areas it may be a bone graft or metal implant.

You may not be able to prevent a bone tumor, but making a lifelong commitment to being active, eating well, maintaining a healthy body weight and taking care to prevent injury could make the difference.

For more information on bone cancer visit the Canadian Cancer Society