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Home News and Update Year 2011 Bone Cancer affects young ones

Bone Cancer affects young ones

Times of India
22 November 2011
By Hetal Vyas
Bangalore India

Benign Tumours More Common | Amputation No Longer Necessary
Bone Cancer Awareness Day

It can catch you young, unlike other types of cancer. Bone cancer might not be very common when compared to breast and cervical cancer or leukaemia, but the most threatening feature of bone cancer is that it hits the human body in the first 20 years of life.

Bone Cancer

The incidence of bone cancer is 1/100 cancer cases, but it contributes to about 6–7% of paediatric cancer patients. Not all bone tumours are malignant. In fact, benign (noncancerous) bone tumours are more common than malignant ones. Both malignant and benign bone tumours may grow and compress healthy bone tissues, but benign tumours do not spread or destroy bone tissue, and are rarely a threat to life, say experts.

‘Bone cancer mostly occurs in adolescents as there is maximum growth in the musculoskeletal system. While bone cancer also occurs in adults, it is more common in children and adolescents. The cancer cells get mutated and continue to grow,’’ said Dr Pramod S Chinder, ortho oncologist, HCG Cancer Hospital. Genetic and environment factors could be the reason for one to contract bone cancer.

It can also occur in adults in their late 50s or 60s, but may not be as severe. ‘‘In adults, it is important to find out if the person has contracted any other type of cancer. In adulthood, bone cancer primarily affects tissues of other body parts,’’ said Dr Narayan Hulse, senior joint replacement and orthopaedic surgeon, Hosmat Hospital.

Bone Cancer
Treatment Options

Earlier, the only option to tackle bone cancer was to amputate the affected limb, but now with advanced imaging and surgical techniques, limbsaving surgeries are done in 90% of bone cancer patients, but are not fully practised in India.

"Advanced detection technology like PET (Positrom Emission Tomography) scan, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, MRI scan and biopsies are used to treat patients," said Dr Prabhu Dev, bone tumour specialist, Sparsh Hospital.

Case Studies

Ca Newton, 10, from Nairobi (in pic), was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (primary stage of bone cancer) in his left leg in 2010. The local hospital which ruled that Newton had an infection in the limb and operated on him. Later, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, and amputation advised. His father, Peter Kamau, a professor, brought him to HCG Hospital, where Newton was cured in three cycles of chemotherapy over six months, said Dr Chinder. Malay Mondal, 22, was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma in the right leg and amputation was suggested. After a second opinion at HCG, the tumour was removed and the limb reconstructed.

Parts Most Affected

Tibia (knee to ankle), shoulders, backbone, pelvis


Pain and swelling

Survival rate:

There are 70% to 75% chances if detected during the first stage. If detected in the fourth stage, a patient lives only for 6–18 months

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