Bone Cancer Overview (cont.)
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.
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
In this Article
- What is bone cancer? What is metastatic bone cancer?
- Who is at risk for bone cancer?
- What causes bone cancer?
- What are bone cancer symptoms and signs?
- What are the different types of bone cancer?
- What kinds of bone cancer occur in children?
- What tests are used to diagnose bone cancer?
- What is the treatment for bone cancer?
- How is bone cancer pain managed?
- What is the prognosis for bone cancer?
- Can bone cancer be prevented?
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
How is bone cancer pain managed?
The pain of bone cancer is medically treated with analgesic (pain-relieving medications). These may be nonprescription or prescription medications. Mild-to-moderate pain is treated with medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen and naproxen. However, people taking anticancer chemotherapy drugs may need to avoid the use of NSAIDs due to the increased risk of bleeding.
Prescription medications may be used for moderate-to-severe cancer pain. Opioids -- stronger narcotic pain medications -- like codeine, morphine, oxycodone (Oxycontin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and fentanyl may be required to control severe pain. Sometimes a combination of medications is used to treat cancer pain. Opioid medications can be associated with side effects like drowsiness, constipation, and nausea.
What is the prognosis for bone cancer?
The prognosis, or outlook, for bone cancer depends upon the particular type of cancer and the extent to which it has spread. The overall five-year survival rate for all bone cancers in adults and children is about 70%. Chondrosarcomas in adults have an overall five-year survival rate of about 80%.
The five-year survival rate specifically for localized osteosarcomas is about 60%-80%. If metastases are present, meaning that the cancer has spread beyond bone, the survival rate is about 15%-30%, but there are factors that may affect the prognosis. Osteosarcomas tend to have a more favorable prognosis if they are located in an arm or leg, respond well to chemotherapy, and are able to be completely removed at surgery. Younger patients and females also tend to have a more favorable prognosis than males or older patients.
Ewing sarcomas have a five-year survival rate of about 70% when they are found in a localized stage. If they have spread to other sites (metastasized), the survival rate drops to 15%-30%. Certain factors have been associated with a more favorable prognosis for Ewing sarcomas, including smaller tumor size, patient age less than 10, having a tumor in an arm or leg (in contrast to a tumor in the pelvis or chest wall), and having a good response to chemotherapy drugs.
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