Bone tumors consist of a mass formed within a bone or on the surface of a bone. These masses can be either benign or cancerous, depending upon how the tumor is formed and what it consists of. A bone tumor is found most often on the femur or tibia. The femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) are important in helping the body perform necessary functions, such as jumping and walking. Since these bones often are responsible for bearing the weight of our body and in performing important actions, many bone tumors require treatment or close observation.
Overall, bone tumors are quite common, and most are the result of benign conditions. Many bone tumors are related to disease processes in other parts of the body. Malignant (cancerous) tumors that originate in the bone, however, are relatively rare. Each year, approximately 2,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for a primary malignant bone tumor. The majority of those treated are children. In fact, bone sarcomas account for around 2% of all cancer cases in children. Adolescents and young adults may be more susceptible to formation of a bone tumor due to changes related to the rapid growth during the adolescent growth spurt. When certain tumors are left untreated, they can spread, causing significant pain and possible fracture, as well as the possible need for limb amputation or death.
Anatomy of the Bone
The 206 bones in the adult human body are there to shape the body and provide stability. Each bone consists of the following:
Muscles attach themselves to the bones to help provide strength and stability as a person moves. Bones are also used to protect the vital organs in the human body. Inside each bone is marrow, which helps the body produce new blood cells that are vital to good health and survival.
Types of Bone Tumors
Bone tumors come in a variety of forms, and most require some sort of treatment:
Causes of Bone Tumors
The cause of most bone tumors is still unclear. Because they typically occur in longer bones, which are sites for rapid growth, some researchers have assumed the following as possible causes:
Symptoms of Bone Tumors
Depending on the severity of the bone tumor and the type, the symptoms can vary. Many patients with a bone tumor will have pain, tenderness, or swelling in and around the bone in question.
The following are bone tumor symptoms. Because every person reacts differently to these tumors, it is important to note that you do not have to have all symptoms to have a bone tumor:
Bone tumor symptoms are similar to symptoms found with other diseases or traumas. It is important to seek the guidance of a trained professional and have tests done immediately to determine if your symptoms are a result of a bone tumor.
The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's musculoskeletal oncology services in New York treats Bone Tumors as well as a broad range of conditions that affect the bones within the body.