Bone cancer is cancer that develops in any of the 206 bones in the human body. Bone cancer is rare. Most bone cancer cases are non-primary, meaning that the cancer originated somewhere else in the body and metastasized, or spread to the bone. Primary bone cancer refers to cancer that develops in the cells that make hard bone tissue.
There are three main types of bone cancer:
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. It is most often found in children and young adults. In these groups, osteosarcoma originates in the part of the bone that is growing rapidly. It is commonly found in the knees, femur, shoulder, and pelvis. Osteosarcoma is a rapidly progressing cancer that can spread to other parts of the body such as the lungs.
Chondrosarcoma is the second most common type of bone cancer. It occurs in the cartilage cells. It is most commonly found in the leg, arm, and pelvis bones. People over the age of 50 are more at risk for developing chondrosarcoma.
The Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors is the third most common type of bone cancer. It usually grows in the soft tissue of the bone, like the muscle, fat, or blood vessels. It is common in the pelvis, arms, and legs. Ewing's Sarcoma is most often found in children and young adults.
Rarer types of bone cancer include: Malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH), Fibrosarcoma, and Chordoma.
Bone Cancer Facts and Statistics
- According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an expected 2,970 new cases of bone cancer in the United States in 2015, and those cases will result in 1,490 deaths.
- Primary bone cancers, meaning bone cancers that originate in the bones account for only 0.2% of all cancers.
- 40% of all bone cancers in adults are chondrosarcomas, 28% are osteosarcomas, and 8% are Ewing's Sarcoma.
- The five-year survival rate for bone cancer in all groups is about 70%.
- Bone cancer is most common in longer bones, like those in the arms and legs, and it is also most common in children and young adults.
Symptoms and Risk Factors
Risk factors for bone cancers include:
- Hereditary and genetic conditions like retinoblastoma, Paget's disease of bone, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Rothmund-Thomson syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, and Diamond-Blackfan anemia.
- There are very few symptoms of bone cancer, so doctors should be aware of the risk factors and be ready to order diagnostic and screening tests for chronic symptoms.
- Pain and swelling in bones or joints
- Problems with movement
- Fractures- bone cancer weakens bones it grows in, and patients may experience sudden pain and fracture in a bone that had been sore for a while
- Loss of sensation in extremities
Diagnosing Bone Cancer
If your doctor suspects bone cancer, she should initiate diagnostic tests. Obtaining an understanding of the patient's complete personal and family health history is part of the process. The doctor may also order blood tests, a biopsy to test tissue/bone samples, and imaging tests like a computed tomography test (CT), a magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI), or a positron emission tomography scan (PET).
Bone Cancer Treatment
Surgery is the primary treatment option for bone cancer. Doctors will try to remove the cancerous tumor and surrounding tissue and bone. but will try to maintain the functionality of the limb. Doctors may also use radiation or chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells.
Malpractice in Bone Cancer
Bone cancer is an aggressive cancer. As such, negligence in diagnosing and treating this condition can be fatal for the patient and can be the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If a doctor failed to obtain an accurate history, failed to order proper diagnostic tests, failed to refer the patient to a specialist, or misread the results of diagnostic test, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice if his negligence caused injury to the patient.
Since bone cancer is aggressive, treatments are often very expensive and emotionally taxing. Diagnostic errors can result in permanent disability and death.
If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered from negligent bone cancer misdiagnosis or treatment, contact Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to resolving your case successfully. You owes nothing unless and until we obtain a satisfactory recovery on your behalf.