Bone cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the spongy tissue – the brain – in your bones.
The main function of the brain is to make blood cells.
There are many different types of blood and bone cancer. Here are a few:
This is the most common. It affects plasma cells.
They are white blood cells that help fight infection and disease.
In multiple myeloma, plasma cancer cells attack normal, healthy cells and break or weaken your bones.
It usually starts in the lymph nodes, but can also affect the bone marrow.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma begins in lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.
White blood cells are part of the body’s immune system.
If you have this type of blood cancer, your body can make abnormal blood cells.
These abnormal cells attack the bone marrow, leaving little room for healthy blood cells.
They normally form in white blood cells, but can also occur in other cell types.
It can be fast growth (acute) or slow growth (chronic).
There are many types of leukemia. They all have different treatments.
It is the most common form of cancer in children and adolescents.
About 3 out of 4 childhood leukemias are acute lymphocytic leukemias.
It begins in the bones of the early forms of white blood cells and progresses rapidly.
Others are mostly acute myeloid leukemias.
This type of cancer starts in another early form of blood cells and quickly enters the bloodstream and spreads to other parts of the body.
Causes of bone cancer
It is not clear what causes bone marrow cancer.
The causes can be:
- Exposure to toxic chemicals in solvents, fuels, engine exhaust, certain cleaning agents, or agricultural products.
- Exposure to atomic radiation.
- Some viruses, including HIV, hepatitis, some retroviruses, and some herpes viruses.
- A suppressed immune system or plasma disorder.
- Genetic status or family history of nodal cancer.
- Previous chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Bone cancer diagnosis
If you have signs or symptoms of bone marrow cancer, your doctor will check your medical history and perform a full physical examination.
Depending on the findings and your symptoms, diagnostic tests may include:
- A Blood tests, such as complete blood count, complete metabolic profile, and tumor markers.
- Urine tests to check protein levels and assess kidney function.
- A bone marrow or enlarged lymph node biopsy to check for the presence of cancer cells.
- Imaging tests such as CT scans, MRI, PET scans, and X-rays to look for evidence of tumors.
Biopsy results can confirm the diagnosis of bone marrow cancer and provide information about a specific type of cancer.
Imaging tests can help determine how far cancer has spread and which organs are affected.
Bone cancer treatment
Bone marrow cancer treatment varies from individual to individual.
It is based on the specific type and stage of the cancer diagnosis, like any other health care.
The following treatments are used for bone cancer:
Chemotherapy is a systematic treatment designed to detect and destroy cancer cells in the body.
Your doctor will prescribe medicine or a combination of drugs based on your specific type of cancer.
Radiation therapy delivers high-energy rays to the target area to kill cancer cells, reduce tumor size, and reduce pain.
Find out how radiation therapy compares to chemotherapy.
This therapy uses your own immune system to kill cancer cells.
Targeted therapeutic drugs
Therapeutically targeted drugs appropriately attack specific types of cancer cells.
Unlike chemotherapy, they prevent damage to healthy cells.
The damaged bone marrow is replaced with a healthy donor brain during a bone marrow transplant.
This treatment may include high doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
It is also known as stem cell transplantation.
Another treatment option is to participate in a clinical trial.
Clinical trials are research programs that test new treatments that have not yet been approved for general use.
They usually have strict qualification guidelines.
Your doctor can help you find information about tests that may be appropriate.