Saturday, November 20, 2010

Term Paper on Bone Cancer

Term Paper on Bone Cancer

Bone cancer is a disease that occurs on or inside a bone. Usually, bone cancer involves a tumor filled with abnormal cells that will occasionally appear on the exterior of the bone. Similar to other types of cancer, bone cancer can be life threatening. Doctors are not completely sure what causes cancer, but they continue the search to find an answer. There are five different types of bone cancer that can affect people from ages 10-60 years old. Bone cancer can occur in any bone in the body from the legs to the head. Unfortunately, symptoms of bone cancer are not always obvious. Most of the time, pain is the most apparent symptom. When recognizing symptoms at an early stage, doctors can complete testing and supply treatment to the patient. Treatment for bone cancer usually begins with surgery followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Because of the need to kill all of the abnormal cells that are growing on or inside the bone, treatment for bone cancer can be very powerful. In most cases, treatment is very successful. Before starting cancer treatment, many patients rely on statistics for a survival rate, but statistics are simply averages. Each patient has a different circumstance with his/her disease.

There are 206 bones in the human body. Each bone serves several purposes. The bones of the body act as the structure that helps to support and protect many internal organs. The bones also serve as a muscle attachment that connects to the muscle to help during movement. But, most importantly, the bones of the body produce and store cells in the bone marrow. According to the Medicine Net on line, healthy cells grow, divide, and multiply throughout the body. Cells make up the body tissue. However, some cells can become abnormal. Given that healthy cells make up body tissue, unhealthy cells grow and destroy body tissue and can often spread to other parts of the body. This abnormal growth of cells is called cancer. There are more than 100 types of cancer known to man, and 5 out of 100 are bone cancer. Bone cancer is rare. According to a survey by The National Institute of Health and Public Service, only about 2,000 new cases of bone cancer in the United States are diagnosed each year. The survey also showed that males are more likely than females to develop bone cancers, and bone tumors are more likely among children and adolescents than among adults.

Types of Bone Cancer
In a recent study of the five types of bone cancers made by The National Cancer Institute, the most common type of bone cancer is Osteosarcoma, which commonly affects people from ages 10-25 years old. Osteosarcoma develops in new tissue usually in the arms, legs, or around the knee joint. Chondrosarcoma is another type of bone cancer. It usually develops in the cartilage of the pelvis, upper part of legs and arms, and the shoulder. Chondrosarcoma affects people from ages 50-60 years old. Ewing’s Sarcoma is a bone cancer that is known to begin in immature nerve tissue in the bone marrow. It attacks the pelvis, femur, and tibia. Ewing’s Sarcoma usually affects people from 10-20 years old. The last two types of bone cancer are Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma and Fibrosarcoma. Both of these types of bone cancer are very rare and usually develop in the arms and legs or around the knee joint. Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma and Fibrosarcoma are known to affect middle aged people.

Symptoms of Bone Cancer
Bone cancer can sometimes be hard to detect. Symptoms of bone cancer can develop very slowly if at all. But Medicine Net on line states that the most common symptom of bone cancer is pain. Often, one will develop swelling or tenderness in the affected area. Sometimes, a slightly visible lump may be felt through the skin. Bone cancer can also interfere with body movements like walking or hiking. Broken bones can also result from bone cancer. In one case, a victim of bone cancer recently started seeing symptoms of bone cancer. She developed a strong pain in her knee joint that enabled her to walk. The victim experienced a large amount of swelling around the joint. When she consulted a physician, the patient found that she had a fracture and a cancerous tumor in her knee. Even though the above symptoms can also lead to other injuries or diseases besides bone cancer, it is strongly recommended that one should consult a physician if in doubt.

Diagnosis of Bone Cancer
When diagnosing bone cancer, a doctor must first complete some tests. According to a summary of tests and procedures by Medicine Net on line, a doctor will first ask about a patient’s personal and family medical history in order to find out if there is any history of cancer in the family. Next, the doctor will order blood tests and x-rays. The exact size, shape, and location of a bone tumor can be seen through an x-ray. Then, a CAT scan (Computed Axial Tomography) will be completed to show whether the cancer has begun to spread to other parts of the body. A CAT scan will give detailed pictures of the cross section of the body. There are also similar tests like an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and an Angiogram (x-ray of the arteries), but a biopsy is the ultimate test that will make sure that cancer is present in the body. After the victim was told that she had bone cancer, she experienced a biopsy in Seattle, Washington. The Medicine Net on line explained that during a biopsy, doctors test a sample of the bone tumor and determine through a microscope whether or not the tumor is cancerous. The many different tests of bone cancer are very critical to the outcome of the disease. The tests are used for staging the bone cancer. For example, if a patient of bone cancer had a CAT scan, and it showed that the bone cancer was not spreading, the doctors could stage the patient’s cancer as controlled.

Bone Cancer Treatment
There are three types of treatment for bone cancer: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. The treatment preference depends upon the type, location, size, and extent of tumor along with a patient’s needs. Sometimes, a combination of the three treatments is used on a patient. Because cancer can recur in the original affected area, surgeons often remove the tumor, tissue, and some healthy bone surrounding the tumor. In some cases, especially in children, a metal device will be implanted in place of the bone that was removed by a surgeon. This metal device functions to save a limb and lengthen as the child grows. Another type of treatment is chemotherapy. The National Cancer Institute, which covers both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, states that chemotherapy uses several drugs such as Cyclophosphamide, Vinblastine, and vincristine to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is a very intense treatment that can be given by mouth or by injection into a muscle or blood vessel. Chemotherapy is so powerful that there has to be a treatment period followed by a recovery period, which is usually when one has fully recovered from the intense drugs used in chemotherapy. Recovery periods can vary with each person. The last treatment for bone cancer is radiotherapy. This type of treatment uses high-energy rays to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing. Radiotherapy can sometimes be used in place of surgery to remove the bone cancer. Another use for radiotherapy is to kill cancer cells remaining in the affected area after treatment. All treatments for bone cancer are very strong. The treatments are so strong that they kill not only cancer cells but also some healthy cells.

Statistics of Bone Cancer
According to research taken in 2003 by The American Cancer Society, 2,400 new cases of bone cancer will be diagnosed this year, and about 1,300 deaths from these cancers are expected. During the study, 35% of all bone cancer cases was Osteosarcoma, 26% was Chondrosarcoma, 16% was Ewing’s Sarcoma, 8% was Chordoma, and 6% was both Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma and Fibrosarcoma.

The five bone cancers are a very small proportion of the 100 or more cancers known to man. However, the National Cancer Institute is developing and sponsoring clinical trials on bone cancer patients in many hospitals and cancer centers. The National Cancer Institute is trying to find new effective treatments and methods for bone cancer. The future for bone cancer patients is very promising. Doctors and scientists are hoping to discover the cure for cancer in the next ten years.

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