Allison Perry

Types of Bone Cancers and Ways to Treat Them Vary

Published: May 7, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2013) - The following column appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader on Sunday, May 5.

 

By Dr. Patrick O'Donnell

 

There are two types of bone cancers. Primary bone cancers (sarcomas) are the rarest type of human cancer and probably affect fewer than 100 Kentuckians per year. Metastatic cancer which spreads to the bone is much more common, and often originates in the prostate, breast, thyroid, kidney or lung.

 

Bones have a complex network of cellular types, so primary bone cancer can develop in cells designed to make bone itself (osteosarcoma), cartilage (chondrosarcoma), fibrous tissue (spindle cell sarcoma of bone), or the marrow elements (multiple myeloma). There are also other types of tumors which occur in bone which we haven’t fully characterized, such as Ewing’s sarcoma of bone.

 

How does bone cancer develop?

 

Any bone in the body can develop a cancer, but bones that grow the fastest (like the knee and the shoulder) have a higher risk for cancer. Additionally, specific types of bone cancer are common in certain areas. For example, Ewing’s sarcoma of bone tends to occur in the flat bones of the pelvis, shoulder girdle, and spine, while osteosarcoma and chondrosarcoma typically occur in the limbs.

 

There are some genetic syndromes that predispose patients to develop certain types of bone cancer, but most cases are sporadic. There is no association between bone cancer and lifestyle or environmental factors. Most cases of bone cancer are just genetic bad luck.

 

How is bone cancer treated?

 

The two types of bone cancer are treated differently. For primary bone cancers that haven’t metastasized, we have an opportunity to cure the patient with appropriate care.

 

Treatment for primary bone cancers typically involve a combination of chemotherapy and surgery. These are the rarest and most aggressive types of human cancer, and surgery to remove them is carefully planned.

 

Think of the cancer like the fruit of an orange — these cancers are so aggressive, they have to be removed with a “rind” of normal tissue completely surrounding the tumor so that the cancer doesn’t see the light of day during surgical excision.

 

These surgeries are difficult due to the complex anatomy of the skeletal system — the location of the cancer can mean that you are only millimeters away from major blood vessels or nerves that serve other areas of the body.

 

Twenty years ago, bone cancer was treated with amputation more than 90 percent of the time.

 

Today, with advanced surgical techniques, limb-salvage surgery is the treatment of choice. After removing a section of bone from the body, we have developed internal prosthetic devices which can restore function for children, young adults and adults who have been afflicted with bone cancer. These truly “robotic” internal prostheses can restore leg length, gait, and can even grow with a growing child.

 

When a cancer spreads to the bone from another organ, however, the ability to “cure” that cancer decreases drastically. As such, treatment of metastatic cancer to bone typically involves improving the quality of life by decreasing pain and improving patient function.

 

Dr. Patrick O’Donnell is an orthopaedic oncologist for UK HealthCare.

odonnell_patrickw__1.jpg
November
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
College of Pharmacy Open House
Iron Pour
UK Women's Choir 20th Anniversary Concert
Adventure Hiking & Rappelling @ Red River Gorge
Pickin' Time Mountain Music and Harvest Day
Purposeful Retirement: Planning Your Next Stage of Life
Diwali Dhoom 2014
Sat
2
UK Percussion Ensemble
Day Hike
Curator Tour: Take My Word For It
Sun
3
Industry Career Week: Resumes and Cover Letters
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Morehead State
Mon
4
Industry Career Week: How to Impress Your Boss in 90 Days
Rock Star Professionalism Series
UK Lab Band
Tue
5
Industry Career Week: Networking and Job Search
Social Enterprise and Innovation / Certified Nonprofit Professional Program Informational Meeting
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Appalachian Forum with Dr. Fran Ansley
Dana Harper Gallery Reception
Wed
6
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Zona Sur
LNFS Presents: The Grand Budapest Hotel
UK Jazz Ensemble
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Abstract Workshop
Lauren Potter
Thu
7
LNFS Presents: V for Vendetta
Last Day to Withdraw or Reduce Course Load
Circle of Love Name Distribution
R.C. May Photography Lecture Series: Marvin Heiferman
Men's Soccer vs. Charlotte
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Georgia
Free Friday Evening Swing Dance
Fri
8
Kentucky Football vs. Georgia
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
The Power of Poetry
The Lexington Lowdown and Free Lindy Hop Workshop
Swing Dance Featuring Live music by"The Metrognomes Orchestra"
Sat
9
UK Combos Concert
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Missouri
Sun
10
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Mon
11
UK Sax Ensembles
Job Club - Interviewing Strategies
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Jose Abisambra Presentation on Current Alzheimer's Research
Women of the World: Judy Smith
Tue
12
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Reservoir Dogs
Refugee Life in America
#UKEDTALKS: International Opportunities for Education Majors
Leadership Assessment
Wed
13
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Iron Man 3
Chili and Pie Cook-Off Supper
#TrendingTopics: Vegetarians vs. Meat-Eaters
Campus Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics KY
LNFS Presents: La Demora
Thu
14
LNFS Presents: Pretty in Pink
LNFS Presents: Mean Girls
Fri
15
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
16
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Florida
Greek Cinematography: Critical Approach and Discussion
"Storied Streets" Documentary Showing about Experiences of Homelessness
Sun
17
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
UK Rep Bands Concert
College of Agriculture, Food & Environment 2014 Celebration of Land-Grant Research
Amanda Rogers, "Black Flags, ISIS 'Swag' & Jihadi Rap: Marketing Militancy after the Arab Spring"
Stories of Homelessness: Panel Discussion
Mon
18
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
A Positive Approach to Caregiving Conference
Education Abroad Open House
CatWatch Party
Appalachian Forum and Film Screening of "Up the Ridge"
Tue
19
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
LNFS Presents: The Princess and the Frog
Pinterest Party
International Games Day
Global Design with Phil Duncan
Caregiver Support Group
OXFAM Social Issues Banquet
Wed
20
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You
LNFS Presents: The Big Lebowski
International Education Week Keynote Speaker: Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education at USAID
Tobacco-free Tailgate 5 Year Anniversary
Bollywood Night
Thu
21
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: Water For Elephants
4th Annual Markesbery Symposium on Aging & Dementia
Freedom from Fear: On Black Childhood and Other Dangers
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
MEAT.
Fri
22
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
23
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
UK Symphony Band and UK Concert Band
Sun
24
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Mon
25
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Job Club - What is your money habitude?
Multicultural Student Thanksgiving Dinner
Tue
26
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Wed
27
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Thu
28
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Fri
29
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Arkansas
Sat
30
 
Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 

Repeats every week until Sat Nov 29 2014 except Sat Sep 20 2014, Sat Oct 18 2014.
Sat, 11/29/2014

Sat, 11/29/2014

Mon, 12/01/2014

Tue, 12/02/2014

Reset Page