Although researchers are working on it, we don’t know exactly what causes bone cancer yet.
We do know that bone cancer is more common in children and young adults, but that it can occur at any age. Prolonged exposure to certain chemicals, such as benzene or vinyl chloride have also been linked to cancer. Ironically, if you received high doses of radiation treatment for cancer before, you also have an increased risk of developing cancer later in life.
There is also a genetic component. Certain conditions, such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, hereditary retinoblastoma and Paget's disease can radically increase your risk of developing cancer.
Different Types Of Bone Cancer
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. This type of cancer occurs mostly in the long bones of the arms and legs but can also happen in the spine or pelvis.
Osteosarcoma is most often seen in children and young adults, but it can occur at any age.
Some of the most prevalent symptoms of osteosarcoma include pain that may worsen at night or with activity, a lump or mass in the affected area accompanied by swelling or tenderness, limited movement in the affected limb or joint, and unexplained weight loss or fatigue.
Chondrosarcoma develops in the cartilage and therefore often affects the joints or the ends of bones, where cartilage is most present. It most commonly affects the bones of the pelvis, thigh, and upper arm.
The symptoms of chondrosarcoma are similar to that of osteosarcoma, including pain, swelling or a lump in the affected area, limited range of motion or stiffness in a joint and weakness or numbness in the affected limb (if the tumour is pressing on nerves or blood vessels).
Ewing sarcoma is a rare type of bone cancer that mainly affects children and young adults. It usually develops in the bones of the pelvis, thigh, upper arm, or ribs. Ewing sarcoma is caused by a specific genetic mutation that leads to the development of cancerous cells in the bone tissue.
The symptoms of Ewing sarcoma may include pain in the affected bone, swelling and tenderness around the affected area, a noticeable lump or mass in the affected bone, limited range of motion in nearby joints, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue or weakness.
Giant Cell Tumour
Giant cell tumours are typically benign (non-cancerous) tumours that can develop in the bones of the arms and legs. However, in rare cases, they can become cancerous and spread to other parts of the body. Giant cell tumours are characterised by the presence of large cells with multiple nuclei.
The most common symptom of a giant cell tumour is pain in the affected bone or joint. The pain may be dull and achy, or it may be sharp and intense. A visible lump or swelling may be present in the affected area and the joint may feel stiff and difficult to move.
As the tumour grows, it can weaken the bone and cause fractures. If the tumour is pressing on a nerve, it can cause numbness or tingling in the affected area.
Chordomas are rare, slow-growing malignant tumours that occur at the base of the skull and in the bones of the spine. They arise from remnants of the primitive notochord, which is a structure that forms during embryonic development.
Chordomas can grow slowly over several years and may not cause any symptoms until they have reached a large size.
Symptoms of chordomas may vary depending on the location of the tumour. However, some common symptoms of chordomas may include pain at the base of the skull or in the spine, difficulty moving the neck or limbs, weakness or numbness in the arms or legs, changes in bowel or bladder function, vision or hearing changes (if the tumour is affecting the nerves that control these functions) and headaches, dizziness or loss of balance.
General Symptoms Of Bone Cancer
The symptoms you experience if you have bone cancer, might differ from other people, depending on your type of cancer and unique circumstances.
In general, though, cancerous cells in the bones can destroy normal bone tissue. This may weaken the bone and cause irritation and inflammation of the surrounding tissues, leading to pain. As the cancer grows, it can put pressure on nerves, which can also cause pain.