Bone Cancer (cont.)
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.
In this Article
- 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?
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
What is the treatment for bone cancer?
There are many different methods available for your doctor to treat bone cancer. The best treatment is based on the type of bone cancer, the location of the cancer, how aggressive the cancer is, and whether or not the cancer has invaded surrounding or distant tissues (metastasized). There are three main types of treatment for bone cancer: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. These can be used either individually or combined with each other.
Surgery is often used to treat bone cancer. The goal of surgery is usually to remove the entire tumor and a surrounding area of normal bone. After the tumor has been removed, a pathologist examines it to determine if there is normal bone completely surrounding the tumor. If a portion of the cancer is left behind, it can continue to grow and spread, requiring further treatment. If the tumor specimen has normal cells completely surrounding it, there is a much better chance that the entire tumor has been removed and less chance for recurrence. Historically, amputations were frequently used to remove bone cancer. Newer techniques have decreased the need for amputation. In many cases, the tumor can be removed with a rim of normal bone without the need for an amputation. Depending on the amount of bone removed, the surgeon will replace something in its location. For smaller areas, this may be either bone cement or a bone graft from another place in your body or from the bone bank. For larger areas, the surgeon may place larger grafts from the bone bank or metal implants. Some of these metal implants have the ability to lengthen when used in growing children.
You may be referred to a medical oncologist for chemotherapy. This is the use of various medications used to try to stop the growth of the cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be used prior to surgery to try to shrink the bone tumor to make surgery easier. It can also be used after surgery to try to kill any remaining cancer cells left following surgery.
You could also be referred to a radiation oncologist for radiation therapy. The radiation therapy uses high-energy X-ray aimed at the site of the cancer to try to kill the cancer cells. This treatment is given in small doses daily over a period of days to months. As with chemotherapy, radiation therapy can be used either before or after a potential surgery, depending on the specific type of cancer.
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