There are a variety of methods which can help treat bone cancer. Depending on the extent of the tumor, cancer location, severity of the condition the doctor recommends treatment for it.
Patients generally have to undergo surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy for treatment of bone cancer. The treatment may either be individually or may be a combination of the all the three, depending on the extent of it.
Surgery is the most common method for treating bone cancer and it is done when the tumor is big and has to be removed completely. Surgery is resorted to when the entire bone and the surrounding parts of the bone creates problems for the patient. A pathologist generally examines the complete bone to check for any further tumor growth. If the tumor is not removed completely, then the cells may slowly start growing and it can affect the entire area covering the bone and the surrounding areas of the bones. There are greater chances of recurrence of bone cancer; hence the surgery needs to be done with care.
In the past, patients had to undergo amputations for removal of bone cancer. However, with the introduction of new and sophisticated techniques, it is possible to get rid of a tumor. If the tumor has not spread to the entire bone, it can be easily scraped and a smaller bone graft can be placed.
Bone grafting for replacing the bone
A smaller tumor can be addressed with a smaller bone graft. However, if the bone has been damaged considerably, the surgeon will have to go for a larger graft, which may be either a bone implant.
Chemotherapy for stopping further growth of cancer cells
The patient is next referred for chemotherapy as this helps in preventing further growth of cancer cells. Generally, the medical oncologist will suggest chemotherapy prior to bone surgery so that the tumor shrinks in size. This makes the surgery easier and the success rate is much higher. Chemotherapy may also be suggested after the surgery to prevent further growth of cancer cells.
Chemotherapy sessions have proven to be very effective in killing cancer cells. The only drawback is that at times even healthy cells may be killed. Patients may experience giddiness, nausea, hair loss, extreme tiredness after the chemotherapy sessions.
Radiation for killing cancer cells
Radiation helps in killing the bone cancer cells and this is done in some doses. The therapy takes few weeks to months. The type of radiation and the dosage varies with the type of cancer. This is indeed a very effective treatment in this disease.
All of us will agree that every treatment may have some side effects or the other. Some of the side effects in the treatment of this disease are infection in the bone, cancer recurrence, damage to the surrounding areas etc. This is when the doctor refers the patient to a bone rehabilitation specialist for occupational therapy sessions. The patient definitely finds an improvement in the overall strength and confidence levels.