Patients' Resources

Bone cancer, also known as osteosarcoma, is not a common type of cancer in Singapore.

However, it is a much more dangerous type of cancer. In 2013, the National Cancer Centre Singapore recorded approximately 60 cases of sarcoma.

It is dangerous because the malignant tumours can spread fast to other organs from where they initially developed. One of the first organs usually affected are the lungs.

Some facts about bone cancer, as well as its treatment procedures, are discussed below.

Five Facts About Bone Cancer From Your Oncologist In Singapore

Fact #1. There are no known risk factors for bone cancer in most people.

Experts observe, however, that bone cancer is likely to occur in people who have had a previous cancer treatment, such as radiation therapy.

Patients with previous multiple benign tumours are also more likely to have one or more of these benign tumours turning malignant or cancerous.

It is best to report to your oncologist about your past medical history so that he can consider this in studying your signs and symptoms.

Fact #2. Children are more likely to develop certain types of bone cancer.

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer which generally occurs in individuals between 10 to 30 years old. Osteosarcoma tumours usually develop in the bones of arms, legs and pelvis.

Have these tumours examined as soon as your primary healthcare provider referred you to an oncologist in Singapore.

Your oncologist may also diagnose two other types of sarcomas, namely, Chondrosarcoma, the cancer of cartilage cells, and Erwing’s Sarcoma, the cancer in the long bones of the legs and arms.

Erwing’s Sarcoma affects children and adolescents and rarely occurs in individuals over 30 years old.

Fact #3. Treatment for contained osteosarcoma has increased the likelihood of a cure by up to 80% over the last 15 years.

Treatment has vastly improved in the last decade; giving hope to patients for permanent cure. But this is only if the osteosarcoma has not yet metastasized to other parts of your bone or to other organs in your body.

Fact #4. Amputation is least likely for those who seek treatment early.One of the risks associated with late-stage treatment of bone cancer is the possibility of bone fracture.

Your oncologist may conduct functional reconstruction which allows up to 90% of patients to be treated without amputation.

Fact #5. Cure for metastatic bone cancer is unlikely.

A metastatic bone cancer results from cancer from other organs, like the breast, colon, liver, or lungs, which has spread to the bones.

Seeing your oncologist for metastatic bone cancer will help you seek protection from suffering bone fractures so you can still move about without pain and return to your normal activity for an extended period of time.

Cure for metastatic bone cancer is unlikely for most individuals, according to ClevelandClinic.org

Bone Cancer Signs And Symptoms

Report these signs and symptoms to your oncologist as soon as you observe them:

  • Sharp pain in the bone
  • Inability to move due to bone stiffness
  • Inability to move due to bone tenderness

Bone Cancer Treatment

Depending on your bone cancer stage, your cancer care team may include your oncologist, a surgeon, pathologist, radiologist, nurse and social worker. Sometimes, a physical therapist and plastic surgeon may also be involved. Your oncologist usually heads your cancer care team.

Your oncologist may recommend the following treatment options:

  1. Surgery, or the removal of the malignant tumour
  2. Chemotherapy, which kills the malignant cells using drugs which may be taken as a pill or introduced directly to the bloodstream via IV.
  3. Radiation therapy, which shrinks the tumour further.

Your oncologist may use a combination treatment involving surgery and chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The objective of the treatment is to remove the cancer cells, protect the bones, and prevent recurrence of the cancer cells.

Bone Cancer Screening

Because bone cancer has no known risk factor in most people, there are no bone cancer screening methods recommended for the general public. Patients with particular genetic disease affecting the bones may opt to have a bone cancer screening.

The oncologist will screen patients for bone cancer using X-rays.  These X-rays will take images of the bone and confirm the presence of tumour.

In cases whereby the oncologist confirms the presence of tumours in the bone, a biopsy may be ordered to determine the malignancy of the tumour.

Visit Your Oncologist In Singapore For Bone Cancer Care

Early detection of bone cancer can lead to administering treatment early, and to being cured.

See our oncologist in Singapore at The Harley Street Heart & Cancer Centre for cancer treatment and care today.

References:

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Osteosarcoma-Malignant_Fibrous_Histiocytoma_of_Bone/can_overview

http://www.nccs.com.sg/PatientCare/WhatisCancer/TypesofCancer/Pages/sarcoma-cancer.aspx?p=/PatientCare

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/bone-cancer/about/screening-for-bone-cancer