Why Does Bone Cancer Develop?

Fewer people are diagnosed with bone cancer than with other kinds of cancer, as it is very rare (about 0.2%). This kind of cancer can affect any bone in any part of the body.

Bone cancer can also be a result of any other type of cancer in the body metastasizing or spreading to the bones. Bone sarcoma and multiple myelomas are the two most common kinds of cancer, of which the latter is less rare.In bone sarcomas osteosarcomas tend to affect children and teenagers more, as it attacks the new tissue that is growing in bones developing in the upper arms, lower thigh bone and upper shin bone; chondrosarcoma a slow-growing tumor occurs in adults and grows in cartilage, and is to be found in the upper arms and legs, ribs, pelvis, and shoulder blade.

Some inherited genetic conditions can lead to bone cancer such as the Li-Fraumeni syndrome or retinoblastoma in children. While injuries do not cause bone cancer, a fracture might draw attention to the cancer that has developed.

Patients of Paget’s syndrome, which is a long-term bone disease, are prone to bone cancer. People who have been diagnosed with a benign bone tumor are at increased risk of developing a malignant tumor here again, the patient is more at risk if he has a rare genetic condition called hereditary multiple exosteses.

If a person has been exposed to radiation, especially in areas of the body where there are bones, then there is a slight risk that they will develop bone cancer. The chances are greater in this case if a child has had high doses of radiotherapy.

Doctors have observed that bone cancer occurs more frequently in young people so the theory is that cancer develops as a result of changes in the bone. Boys more than girls are at higher risk of developing this cancer and African Americans more than Caucasians.

Risk factors of this cancer include exposure to petroleum products. Toxins in pesticides or insecticides can affect people as can benzene.

The symptoms of this cancer manifest as pain in the bones, and swelling in the joints. These may be accompanied by unexplained weight loss, severe fatigue, anemia, and recurring fever. If the spine is affected, the nerves will have pressure put on them, causing a tingling in the limbs and numbness as well as a feeling of weakness. If you suffer from bone pain for more than a few weeks then you should see an orthopedic doctor or an oncologist.

Like other cancers the exact cause of bone cancer cannot be pinned down. They develop due to a lot of risk factors and the symptoms are similar to other diseases, so a doctor will not always be able to diagnose it early on. It is best to provide your entire medical history to the physician and inform him of all symptoms you have so that he can make an informed diagnosis. The earlier the detection the better the prognosis.

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