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Alternative namesTumor - bone
DefinitionA bone tumor is an abnormal growth of cells within the bone that may be benign or malignant (cancerous).
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The cause of bone tumors is unknown. They often arise in areas of rapid growth. Possible causes include inherited mutations, trauma and radiation, but in most cases no specific cause is found.
Malignant bone tumors include osteosarcomas, Ewing's sarcoma , fibrosarcoma, and chondrosarcoma. The most common cancers that spread to the bone are cancer of the breast, lung, prostate, kidney, and thyroid. These forms of cancer usually affect older people.
The incidence of bone cancer is also increased in families with familial cancer syndromes. The incidence of bone cancer in children is approximately 5 cases per million children each year.
Signs and tests
Benign bone tumors may not require treatment but may be assessed periodically to check for progression or regression. Surgical removal may be necessary.
Primary malignant tumors of bone (tumors that start in the bone) are rare and require treatment at centers with experience treating these cancers. After biopsy, a combination of chemotherapy and surgery is usually necessary. Radiation therapy may be needed before or after surgery.
Support GroupsThe stress of illness can often be helped by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems. For this condition, see cancer - support group .
Expectations (prognosis)Prognosis varies depending on the type of tumor . The outcome is expected to be good for people with benign tumors, although some types of benign tumors may eventually become malignant. With malignant bone tumors that have not spread, most patients achieve a cure. Because the cure rate depends on the type of cancer, location, size, and other factors, the prognosis in particular situations should be discussed with your doctor
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if symptoms develop that are suggestive of bone tumors.
Update Date: 7/17/2002Scott Howard, M.D., M.S., Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT