Bone cancer occurs if a mass of abnormal cells grows in the bone. However, not every mass of cells are cancerous. While it tends to be cancerous you may or may not encounter several potential signs and symptoms. But these symptoms can also lead to other medical conditions in the body.
This blog helps you to know symptoms and diagnosing options available for bone cancer. So, read on to know them.
Symptoms of bone cancer
Whenever a bone tumor develops, it exerts pressure on the healthy bone tissue and destroys it. As a result, you will experience the following symptoms:
- Pain- The very early symptom you are going to face for bone cancer is swelling and pain at the location of the tumor. Along with time, it will become more steady and severe and the movement will get worse too. Swelling can be also faced by nearby soft tissues.
- Limping- In case the bone within the tumor fractures, it will lead to the formation of pronounced limp immediately. Usually, it is considered as the later-stage bone cancer symptom.
- Joint stiffness and swelling- If the tumor develops close to or in the joint you will face swelling. It will make the joint either stiff or tender. As a result, a limited painful movement range will be experienced by the person.
- Other rare symptoms- Rarely, you can experience fever, anemia (low RBCs count), weight loss and a feeling of unwell while developing bone cancer.
If you are concerned with your experiencing changes, then it is better to consult with the doctor for bone screening. The doctor will ask you some questions and assess your issue in the right manner. Then, diagnosing options will be determined for detecting the exact problem.
Factors associated with diagnosing of bone cancer
Several methods are there for diagnosing a bone tumor. Moreover, the look of a cancerous tumor is much different from that of the benign tumor. The benign tumor possesses well-defined, smooth and round borders whereas the cancerous tumor has poor irregular borders.
Due to the presence of a number of diagnosing procedures sometimes doctor too gets confused which one to recommend for evaluating a specific bone tumor. But certain aspects are considered to choose a particular diagnosing procedure for the bone screening test. They are mentioned below:
- The report of the previous medical test
- Your general health and age
- Your symptoms and signs
- The suspected cancer type
Tests which help in detecting bone cancer
Along with physical examination, the diagnosing options available for detecting bone cancer are discussed in the following:
- Blood Tests- A few laboratory bone screen blood tests are helpful in detecting bone cancer. People suffering from Ewing sarcoma or osteosarcoma have a high level of lactate dehydrogenase and alkaline phosphatize in the blood. However, high levels of these components not always refer that it is cancer. It represents that the cells which develop bone tissues are the inactive stage.
- X-ray- It is performed to get the image of the interior structure of the body with the help of the light amount of radiation.
- Bone scan- A radioactive tracer is used in this specific scan to obtain a clear image of the tracer is injected in the vein of the patient and it reaches the suspected skeleton area to detect the abnormality in the special camera. A hazy image can be obtained for healthy bones whereas a more prominent image will be there for injured areas or for cancerous cells.
- Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan- CT scan is the procedure of taking an interior image of the body at varied angles by using an X-ray. With the help of the computer, later these images are featured with 3D specifications to give detailed look at the tumor abnormalities. Even it is performed for determining the size of the tumor. Rarely, it is combined with a contrast medium (a special dye) for obtaining better detail in the image. The dye is usually injected in the vein of the patient or administered as the liquid or pill form too.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)- MRI is done with the incorporation of the magnetic fields instead of radiation. Besides determining the size of the tumor it provides a much clear picture of the body. Alike CT scan, sometimes patients are given contrast medium via oral pill or liquid or intravenous injection for explicit details. It helps in detecting the tumors in the nearby tissue areas as well.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) or PET-CT scan- PET scan is the combination of CT scan with PET scan also known as a PET-CT scan. It is a method of creating images of tissues and organs inside your body. Injection of radioactive sugar is administered in the patient’s body for utilizing it as the energy by the cells. As cancer cells utilize much of the radioactive substance, it will definitely absorb most energy. Later, the inside picture of the organ is taken with the help of the scanner.
- Biopsy- Biopsy is the way of removing a little tissue amount for evaluating it under the microscope. Though other tests trace the presence of cancer only this is coupled with a unique diagnosing procedure. The collected sample then will be analyzed by the pathologist. Pathologists are those who perform lab examinations to evaluate organs, tissues, and cells for diagnosing a specific disease. Depending on the location of the tumor, incisional or needle biopsy is suggested to perform. An incisional biopsy is done by cutting a little amount of the tumor. On the other hand, a needle biopsy is performed by making a small hole in your bone for removing the sample tissue. Even in some rare cases, a biopsy cannot be performed at all.
Once you are done with the diagnostic screening and blood test at the clinic of a private blood test in London, the reports will be reviewed by your doctor. If the tumor is found to be cancerous, the doctor will describe it for determining the right treatment option for you. It is also known as staging and grading.