If you are having pain or swelling in your bones, it might actually be the result of a bone tumor. Bone tumors, while somewhat uncommon, are abnormal growths caused by cells inside of a bone. The bone tumor can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant) which a doctor will be able to find out by running a variety of tests. If you want to learn more about bone tumors and suspect you might have one, the following information should prove helpful.
Causes of Bone Tumors
The exact cause of bone tumors is currently unknown though scientists think they might be cased from an injury, radiation or possibly genetic defects passed down through close relatives. With most people that get bone tumors, the cause is never found.
Types of Bone Tumors
There are different varieties of bone tumors aside from being cancerous or non-cancerous. The most common type of benign bone tumor is the osteochondroma. Malignant bone tumors include Ewing’s sarcoma, fibrosarcoma, chdondrosarcoma and osteosarcomas. Other types of cancers can also spread to the bones and cause tumors including breast, prostate, thyroid, lung, and kidney. Bone tumors caused by other cancers are usually referred to as bone cancer.
Symptoms of Bone Tumors
The main signs that lead doctors to testing someone from a bone tumor are bone pain, usually that is worse at night, swelling and a mass felt at the tumor site where there is discomfort, and possibly a bone fracture from a very mild injury or trauma. Many benign bone tumors will show no symptoms.
Diagnosing Bone Tumors
A variety of tests are done to determine if you have a bone tumor, which all start with a basic physical exam. This is followed by a number of tests including a bone scan, bone biopsy, Alkaline phosphatase blood level, chest x-ray, CT scan of the chest, x-ray of the bone and nearby tissue and an MRI of the bone and nearby tissue.
Treating Bone Tumors
The treatment for bone tumors vary based on how bad it is and whether or not it is cancerous. Many of the benign (non-cancerous) bone tumors will go away on their own and not require treatment, especially since many people with benign bone tumors don’t even realize they have them. If the tumor is malignant, it will need to be removed during surgery and you may need to get cancer treatments including radiation therapy to help relieve the pain and prevent fractures. Most bone tumors don’t spread to other bones or body parts even if they are cancerous but they can cause the bone and surrounding tissue to weaken which can increase the risk of fracture. For this reason, malignant bone tumors will need to be treated.