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Bone Cancer - What Are The Treatments Available?

Reviewed by
Dr. Mukul Roy 92% (627 ratings)
MBBS, DNB ( Radiation Oncology), Fellowship in Uro Oncology, Fellowship in Brachytherapy
Oncologist, Mumbai  •  17 years experience
Bone Cancer - What Are The Treatments Available?

The treatment options for bone cancer depends on the type of cancer one is suffering from, the general health of the patient, the stage of cancer and the general preference of the patient. Different treatment options are designed for different types of cancer, based on the diagnosis. Each treatment responds in a different way.

An oncologist decides the treatment options considering all the factors mentioned above. For instance, some cancer is best suited to surgery, while some cancer needs radiotherapy or chemotherapy to curb them. In many cases, all three modes of treatment might be required to tackle the growth of the cancer cells.

Surgery:

The goal of surgery is to eradicate the cancer cells in totality along with some surrounding healthy tissues. This involves special techniques to remove a tumor in one piece. Following are the types of surgeries that are available:

  1. Removing the cancer cells sparing the limb: At the very first sight, the surgeon tries to understand whether it is possible to separate cancer cells from the tissues and the nerves. If the same is possible, the surgeon tries to save the limb while getting rid of the cancer cells. For the sake of safety and to ensure that the surgery is effective, the surgeon removes some of the healthy bone from the body and may replace the same with tissue from other parts of the body. To achieve this, a doctor might seek the help from of a bone bank or use a special metal prosthesis.
  2. Surgery that does not involve the limbs: If the bone cancer does not involve the legs and the arm, surgeons can remove the affected bone along with some healthy bone from the surrounding areas. Cancer of the ribs and the spine are good examples of this type.
  3. Surgery that affects the limb: Bone cancer that has spread to a significant extent and is strategically located in such areas that it is very difficult to remove, requires amputation. While this form of treatment is being increasingly discouraged by the wider medical community, it still does exist. In such cases, patients are fitted with artificial limbs and trained to do their job without the use of natural limbs.

Chemotherapy:

This is a form of drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill cancer cells throughout the body. This medication is mostly given through an IV and the medication kills whatever cancer cells it comes across. 

Radiation therapy:

Radiation therapy involves the use of special X-ray beams that have high power and can kill cancer cells. The patients are required to lie on a table, while a machine moves around the affected area and treats it with high energy X-rays, thereby killing the cancer cells. Radiation therapy is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy to reduce the size of a tumor before operating on it.

Also, Brachytherapy is another kind of radiotherapy in which plastic tubes for introducing radioactive sources are placed over tutor bed during surgery, later it is connected with brachytherapy machine to give extra high dose to tutor bed to improve cure rates.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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