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It’s the single-word diagnosis that everyone dreads hearing from their physician: cancer. That’s because even though we’ve see significant progress made in research and treatment over the last several decades, the long-term prognosis for cancer patients is often uncertain at best.
Of course, the most important thing that anyone diagnosed with cancer can have is as much information as possible about their condition. To that end, today’s post, the first in a series, will spend some time examining an uncommon type of cancer that affects both children and adults.
When you hear the term bone cancer, you may think that this references cancer that starts somewhere else in the body and metastasizes — or spreads — to the bones. However, this is not actually the case, as bone cancer actually means a specific type of cancer that originates within the very structure of the bones — typically the long bones of the arms and legs.
As with many types of cancer, it’s not entirely clear as to what causes bone cancer. However, the prevailing theory is that the DNA in the body’s bone cells undergoes some type of mutation error that sparks the uncontrolled growth and division of more bone cells that continue to live. As a result, these living mutated bone cells start to accumulate and form a tumor, which can not only spread, but intrude upon other bodily structures.
The good news to this is that there are certain symptoms that can alert a person and their physician that to the possible presence of bone cancer. Some of these symptoms include fatigue, pain in the bone, swelling in the affected area, weight loss and broken bones.
We will continue to examine this topic in our next several posts, including a discussion of the different types of bone cancer, possible risk factors and the available treatments that must be undertaken sooner than later.