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Who’s More Prone to Bone Cancer?

While there has been significant growth in the knowledge of cancer, bone cancer is one that is still searching for answers. There are some correlations between certain diseases and the increased risk of developing bone cancer however the exact cause of bone cancer is still unknown. With that being said there appear to be some risk factors that seem to increase the relative risk of getting bone cancer. Below are some of those populations that can be at a predisposition to bone cancer and symptoms of bone cancer

Chronic Bone Illnesses

People who are born with chronic bone issues are potentially more prone to bone cancer. One of these is multiple osteochondromas which is a condition characterized by the formation of cartilage bumps on bones. It is unclear why this disease is associated with the increased risk of bone cancer however since the disease is caused by a DNA mutation, it can be assumed that in some way this mutation may interfere with the pathways needed to prevent cancer in some capacity. 

Cancer treatments

Those who already have a form of cancer are at a higher risk of getting bone cancer. While it is generally true that one type of cancer increases your chances of other cancers, the main reason why cancer patients are at a higher risk of developing bone cancer is radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is a way to target cancer cells within the body and reduce their size to allow surgeons to resect the tumor. While this is an effective form of treatment it also comes with inherent risk. The type of radiation utilized can actually cause cancer and because bone it a hard tissue this radiation damages DNA within cells responsible for bone generation. Chemotherapy drugs can also impact bone tissue and increase your likelihood of developing bone cancer. For a oncologist it is important to always weigh the pros and cons of treatment vs potentially causing more cancer to arise with the treatments used. The safest method in this case is surgical intervention as it does not introduce severe carcinogenic to other body systems and organs. 

Family history

As with all cancer, a family history of cancer tends to increase your chances of developing cancer while you are alive. With bone cancer only certain types of bone cancers are actually able to be passed down. This type of bone cancer is called chondromas which is a form of cancer that effects cartilage. These are typically benign tumors and do not result in sever cancer. Other forms of bone cancer may be able to be inherited but at the moment it is not well enough understood to know the specific causes of bone cancer. 

In summary while there are some populations that are at higher risk of getting bone cancer within their lifetime, the majority of bone cancer patients have no predisposition to bone cancer. There is still a lot of research and learning being done with bone cancer in the scientific community. The best tools we have against bone cancer is early detection. Typically bone cancer arises during adolescence when there is rapid bone growth occurring within the body. Physicians are aware of this and tend to keep an eye out for the symptoms of bone cancer to ensure that if it is present that it is caught early enough to be effectively treated. Symptoms of bone cancer include bone pain, joint swelling, limping, and anemia. If diagnosed with bone cancer it can be difficult to treat and to ensure it is completely gone after treatment. Those who are cancer survivors of bone cancer need to go to frequent checkup visits to ensure that a resurgence of the cancer does not occur.