Jason C. Eck, DO, MS
Dr. Eck received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Catholic University of America in Biomedical Engineering, followed by a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from Marquette University. Following this he worked as a research engineer conducting spine biomechanics research. He then attended medical school at University of Health Sciences. He is board eligible in orthopaedic surgery.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Bone cancer facts
- What are bones for?
- What is cancer?
- What causes bone cancer?
- What are bone cancer symptoms and signs?
- How is bone cancer diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for bone cancer?
- What are the side effects of treatment for bone cancer?
- What does the future hold for patients with bone cancer?
- Can bone cancer be prevented?
- Patient Comments: Bone Cancer - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Bone Cancer - Effective Treatments
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
Bone cancer facts
- The majority of cancer involving the bones is metastatic disease from other remote cancers. Primary bone cancer is much rarer.
- Not all bone tumors are cancerous.
- The most common symptom of bone cancer is pain. The pain is usually 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.
What are bones for?
Your body has 206 bones. These bones serve many different functions. First, your bones provide structure to your body and help provide its shape. Muscles attach to the bones and allow you to move. Without the bones, your body would be an unstructured pile of soft tissues and you would be unable to stand, walk, or move. Second, the bones help to protect the more fragile organs of the body. For example, the bones of the skull protect the brain, the vertebrae of the spine protect the spinal cord, and the ribs protect the heart and lungs. Third, the bones contain bone marrow, which produces and stores new blood cells. Finally, the bones help control your body's collection of various proteins and nutrients including calcium and phosphorus.
What is cancer?
Your body is made up of many small structures called cells. There are many different types of cells that grow to form the different parts of your body. During normal growth and development, these cells continuously grow, divide, and make new cells. This process continues throughout life even after you are no longer growing. The cells continue to divide and make new cells to replace old and damaged cells. In a healthy person, the body is able to control the growth and division of cells according to the needs of the body. Cancer is when this normal control of cells is lost and the cells begin to grow and divide in an uncontrolled manner. The cells also become abnormal and have altered functions in patients with cancer. The cancer cells can become very destructive to the surrounding cells and can invade normal organs and tissues, disrupting their function.
There are many different type of cancer. The cancer is usually named based on the type of cell from which the cancer initially grows. For example, lung cancer is caused by uncontrolled cells that form the lungs and breast cancer by cells that form the breast. A tumor is a collection of abnormal cells grouped together. However, not all tumors are cancerous. A tumor can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign tumors are usually less dangerous and are not able to spread to other parts of the body. Benign tumors can still be dangerous. They can continue to grow and expand locally. This can lead to compression and damage to the surrounding structures. Malignant tumors are usually more serious and can spread to other areas in the body. The ability of cancer cells to leave their initial location and move to another location in the body is called metastasis. Metastasis can occur by the cancer cells entering the body's bloodstream or lymphatic system to travel to other sites in the body. When cancer cells metastasize to other parts of the body, they are still named by the original type of abnormal cell. For example, if a group of breast cells becomes cancerous and metastasizes to the bones or liver, it is called metastatic breast cancer instead of bone cancer or liver cancer. Many different types of cancer are able to metastasize to the bones. The most common types of cancer that spread to the bones are cancers of the lung, breast, prostate, thyroid, and kidney. Cancers arising from lymphatic or blood cells, including lymphoma and multiple myeloma, can also frequently affect the bones.
Most of the time, when people have cancer in their bones, it is caused by cancer that has spread from elsewhere in the body to the bones. It is much less common to have a true bone cancer, a cancer that arises from cells that make up the bone. It is important to determine whether the cancer in the bone is from another site or is from a cancer of the bone cells themselves. The treatments for cancers that have metastasized to the bone are often based on the initial type of cancer.
Next: What causes bone cancer?
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