There are two main types of bone tumors – primary and secondary. Primary bone tumors are those that originate in the bone.
Primary bone tumors are very rare and account for less than 1% of all cancers. Secondary bone tumors originate somewhere else.
Signs & Symptoms
Some patients can go for years without knowing that they have a bone tumor. Pain is one of the only symptoms and this is likely to increase over time. Tumors may weaken the bones and lead to fractures. Unless further testing is done it is difficult to know when a bone tumor is present.
If a bone tumor is suspected there are many methods available to diagnose the patient. These include x-rays, bone scans, CAT scans, MRIs, PETs, and biopsies of the affected area.
Treatment for bone tumors depends mostly on the stage and type of tumor. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy have proven successful in certain types of bone tumors. Medications may also be prescribed; however, these also often lower bone density and lead to bone loss. Physicians look for other options first.
Surgical treatments include removal of the tumor or amputation of the affected limb. Full amputation may be avoided through replacing the bone with one from somewhere else in the body or an artificial bone.
The prognosis for those with bone tumors depends widely on the stage and type of tumor. The outlook is excellent for benign tumors, although benign tumors can later become malignant tumors.
With any type of bone tumor if the tumor has not spread, the outlook is better than for those that have spread. Bone tumors are also likely to reoccur, so it is important to get checked regularly once treatment is complete.