When cells divide uncontrollably and abnormally, they can turn into a lump or mass.
This lump or mass is called a tumor.
Bone tumors form in the bones.
Some tumors are not cancerous or benign. However, while a benign bone tumor is not fatal and is unlikely to spread to other body parts, it may still need treatment.
While often harmless, benign bone tumors can grow and might end up compressing healthy bone tissues.
Some bone tumors are also classified as malignant or cancerous. Left untreated, malignant bone tumors can cause cancer to spread to other parts of the body.
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Causes of Bone Tumors
While direct causes of bone tumors have not been identified, the condition has been attributed to the following: bone injuries, radiation treatments, and genetics.
Common Bone Tumor Symptoms
Potential indicators that signal the presence of bone tumors include the following:
- A dull ache in the affected bone
- Occasional pain that becomes constant and severe
- Swelling at the site of the tumor
- Night sweats
Different Types of Benign Bone Tumors
- Osteochondromas – this is considered the most common type of benign bone tumor. In fact, Osteochondromas account for at least 40 percent of all benign bone tumors. The condition often develops in teenagers and adolescents.
Osteochondromas often manifest in the humerus (upper end of one’s upper arm bone), femur (the thigh bone’s lower end), and the tibia (the lower leg’s upper end).
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- Giant cell tumors – these types of tumors grow aggressively and often affect adults. It also often affects the bone’s rounded end. Giant cell tumors are considered rare.
- Aneurysmal bone cyst – the condition is characterized by abnormality of the blood vessels. The condition often starts in the bone marrow and can grow rapidly. The condition can also be particularly destructive since it can affect the growth plates.
- Enchondroma – a cartilage cyst that grows in the bone marrow is called an enchondroma. The condition often affects the feet and the hands as well as the long bones of both the thigh and the arm.
- Nanossifying Fibroma Unicameral – known as the only true cyst of the bone, the condition often manifests in the leg and often affects children and adolescents.
- Fibrous dysplasia – this condition is secondary to a gene mutation that makes the bones fibrous and therefore vulnerable to fracture.
Different Types of Malignant Bone Tumors
- Osteosarcoma – common in children and adolescents, this condition often develops around the knee, shoulder, and hip. The condition is also known as osteogenic sarcoma.
- Chondrosarcoma – this disease is prevalent among middle-aged and older adults. This type of cancer of the bone often manifests in the pelvis, shoulders, and hips.
- Ewing sarcoma family of tumors (ESFTs) – this type of cancer often develops in adolescents. However, the tumor also sometimes affects children as young as 5 years of age.
ESFTs often develop in the upper arms, skull, pelvis, ribs, backbone, and upper arms. ESFTs begin in the medullary cavities (where the bone marrow is produced).
Aside from thriving in the bone, ESFTs can also develop in the soft tissues like the blood vessels, fat, and muscles. ESFTs can spread rapidly and are observed to be more common in females.
- Multiple myeloma – a common type of secondary bone cancer, this condition is common among older adults. It also manifests as a tumor in the bone marrow.
- Secondary bone cancer – the term refers to cancer that started somewhere else in the body and spreads to the bone. The condition often affects older adults. Cancers of the breast, prostate, kidney, lung, and thyroid gland often spread to the bones.