Bone Cancer (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What is the treatment for bone cancer?

There are many different methods available for your doctor to treat bone cancer. The best treatment is based on the type of bone cancer, the location of the cancer, how aggressive the cancer is, and whether or not the cancer has invaded surrounding or distant tissues (metastasized). There are three main types of treatment for bone cancer: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. These can be used either individually or combined with each other.

Surgery is often used to treat bone cancer. The goal of surgery is usually to remove the entire tumor and a surrounding area of normal bone. After the tumor has been removed, a pathologist examines it to determine if there is normal bone completely surrounding the tumor. If a portion of the cancer is left behind, it can continue to grow and spread, requiring further treatment. If the tumor specimen has normal cells completely surrounding it, there is a much better chance that the entire tumor has been removed and less chance for recurrence. Historically, amputations were frequently used to remove bone cancer. Newer techniques have decreased the need for amputation. In many cases, the tumor can be removed with a rim of normal bone without the need for an amputation. Depending on the amount of bone removed, the surgeon will replace something in its location. For smaller areas, this may be either bone cement or a bone graft from another place in your body or from the bone bank. For larger areas, the surgeon may place larger grafts from the bone bank or metal implants. Some of these metal implants have the ability to lengthen when used in growing children.

You may be referred to a medical oncologist for chemotherapy. This is the use of various medications used to try to stop the growth of the cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be used prior to surgery to try to shrink the bone tumor to make surgery easier. It can also be used after surgery to try to kill any remaining cancer cells left following surgery.

You could also be referred to a radiation oncologist for radiation therapy. The radiation therapy uses high-energy X-ray aimed at the site of the cancer to try to kill the cancer cells. This treatment is given in small doses daily over a period of days to months. As with chemotherapy, radiation therapy can be used either before or after a potential surgery, depending on the specific type of cancer.


Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Bone Cancer - Effective Treatments Question: What treatments have been effective for your bone cancer?
Bone Cancer - Children Question: Did you or your child have bone cancer? What type is/was it, and how was it detected and treated?
Bone Cancer - Diagnosis Question: What kinds of tests and exams led to a diagnosis of bone cancer in you or a relative?
Bone Cancer - Symptoms Question: What were the early symptoms of your bone cancer?