By Dr. Ajay Chanakya Vallabhaneni, Oncology
Cancer, in any form, is difficult to treat or handle. However, some cancers are easier to manage than the rest. Unfortunately, bone cancer is not easily curable. If you have been diagnosed with such cancer, you have a few avenues open for the treatment, although the doctor will advise you regarding the best course to follow.
Here is a look at the most common forms of treatment for bone cancer patients:
- Surgery: Surgery is often the treatment of choice when it comes to cancer and the tumors related to the same. In the case of bone cancer, the surgical oncologists performing the procedure make a wide excision including the involved segment of the bone. This procedure removes the visible cancerous cells, but some of the surrounding healthy cells are also removed from the region. If the tumor exists in one of the limbs, the first priority is to try and keep the hand or leg intact preserving the function of the limb. Usually the resected bone is replaced by either a modular or custom made prosthesis. However, in some of the cases, amputation becomes necessary. In almost 90% of limb bone cancer, limb salvage surgery can be attempted and amputation is not required. Once the surgery is complete, doctors will use the soft tissue to cover and refashion the region of the surgery. Post-surgery Rehabilitation also plays a pivotal role in patient’s recovery to normalcy.
- Chemotherapy: The other popular form of bone cancer treatment is chemotherapy. In this procedure, a cocktail of highly powerful drugs is used to stop the cancer cells from dividing and spreading. These drugs may be administered intravenously or in the form of pills by a medical oncologist. While chemotherapy is very important for the treatment, it is not enough to deal with all aspects of cancer on its own. Usually, patients that have undergone surgery also need to undergo the chemotherapy procedure which will ensure that cancer does not recur. Some fast-growing bone cancers need to be treated with chemotherapy before the surgery is performed. In such a case, the therapy reduces the size of the tumors to such a level that the surgery can be performed.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy involves the use of certain x-rays and other particles to diminish the tumor and the presence of cancer cells in the body. Radiation therapy may be performed externally or it may be performed internally through specialized machines. These machines emit the rays required for the treatment on the body. For bone cancer patients, radiation therapy is only used if a tumor is inoperable.