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
August
 
 
 
 
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Artful Sunday: Wrapped Art
Sun
4
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
5
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
6
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
7
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
8
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
9
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
10
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
11
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
12
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
13
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Wed
14
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
15
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
16
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
17
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
18
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
19
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Tue
20
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Wed
21
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Thu
22
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Midnight Dodgeball Tournament
CARES First Year Focus Parent Meetings
CARES First Year Focus Parent Meetings
Parent and Families Reception
Residence Hall Floor Meeting
Off-campus Freshmen Check-in
K Team Meeting: K Week Kick-off
Death By Chocolate
Fri
23
Employee Educational Assistance Award
A Parent's Guide to Life after August 23
Campus Safety Information Session
Donut Avoid The Study
Common Cents: Money Management for College Students Session 1
See Blue...See Community
Succeeding in A Large Lecture Classroom
Horses, Bluegrass, Basketball, and More: Welcome to Kentucky
Success at Any Age: College Tips for Adult Learners
Write Right: Tips for Writing Well in College
Common Cents: Money Management for College Students Session 2
How to Graduate in Four Years
Parental Involvement in Fraternity and Sorority Life
Parents Watch for Warning Signs: Suicide Prevention for College Students
Preparing to be a Pre-Professional
Presentation U!: Where YOU are the Ultimate Presentation
Religious Life at UK
Successful Off-Campus Living
The Transfer Student Cruise: Navigating your way through UK
UK Parking & Transportation 101
You Heard It Here First: Tips From A Faculty Member
New Student Induction Ceremony
Transfer Student Cookout
K Team Meeting: K Week Overview
Men's Soccer vs. Georgia State
Big Blue U
Campus Ruckus
Sat
24
Employee Educational Assistance Award
K Team Meeting: Lunch and Campus Tour
Center for Community Outreach: Do Good, Start Here.
UK Lex-Mart
Alternative Service Breaks: See the World, Change the World
From the Real World to the Amazing Race, Don't Wipeout: Your Advisor, Advising, and You
Blackboard Basics
Student Government Association Information Session
EMPOWER: Women’s Leadership Retreat Interest Session
Student Center Spectacular
Sun
25
Employee Educational Assistance Award
UK FUSION
UK Parking & Transportation 101
University of Kentucky Association for Transfer Students Interest Session
Candy, Condoms, Coffee
Cleaner, Healthier, Cheaper, Faster: Why Bicycling is the Best Way to Get Around Campus (and how to do it safely)
Working on Campus
K Team Meeting: Dinner with your K Team
Meijer Mania
Mon
26
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Chem at UK Cafe-N-OJ with the Student American Chemical Society
Coffee (or Coke), Cookies, & Communication!: Come see blue. at Presentation U!
Don't Blow Yourself Up: Surviving Chemistry
Fraternity Recruitment Info Session
OMG! Did I Just E-Mail That to My Professor???
Surviving Your First Year and Beyond: Strategies To Do Well in Your Classes
Sustainable UK: Exploring Environmental Programs in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment (CAFE)
A User Guide for Your Mathematics Class
Discover the UK Art Museum
K Team Meeting: Common Reading Experience Discussion
Common Reading Introduction for International Students
Transfer Student Meet and Greet
We Are UK
Big Blue Bingo Night
Mic Check
Tue
27
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Fraternity Recruitment Info Session
Campus Outreach
Wed
28
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Student Involvement Fair
OrgSync Info session
LGBTQ* Welcome Back
Dive Into Diversity!
Residence Hall Floor Meetings
Thu
29
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Sea of Blue
One Last Beach Bash: RSA Block Party
Pills and Pizza
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Wichita State
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Francis Marion
Fri
30
Employee Educational Assistance Award
The Tailgate "Kick-Off"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Butler
Kentucky Football vs. UT-Martin
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Virginia Tech
Sat
31
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ohio
Men's Soccer vs. Belmont
Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Sun, 08/03/2014

Sun, 08/03/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Tue, 08/05/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Wed, 08/06/2014

Wed, 08/06/2014

Reset Page