Bone cancer affects more thousands of people around the world. In the United States alone, it is diagnosed in more than 3,000 patients each year and approximately half of them die due to it.
Typically, bone cancer affects children and adolescents. Although rarely, it affects some percentage of older adults too, mostly because of spread to cancer from some other location to the bones. A majority of primary bone cancers initiate in the bones of the arms or the legs however, it can affect any bone of the human body.
Bone cancer is, therefore, a rare type of cancer that can affects both children and adults, but a majority of cases are reported in children alone. Since bones form an important part of the human skeletal framework, it is important to diagnose and treat bone cancer in early stages for improved chances of survival.
Types of Bone Cancer
There are different types of bone cancer. The most common types of bone cancer are described below:
Osteosarcoma: It is a malignant form of bone cancer that originates in the bone itself (primary cancer). Typically, it affects patients aged between 10 and 25 years and initiate in the long bones of the legs and the arms. It can also start in he rapidly growing areas of the body such as shoulders and around the knees.
Chordoma: It is a rare type of bone cancer that typically affects males aged above 30 years. It is less common in females and primarily affects the spinal column.
Chondrosarcoma: It is the second most common form of malignant bone cancer. This form of cancer affects patients aged above 40 and can manifest itself in the cartilage of the pelvis and the hips. It can either grow slow or can be very aggressive.
Fibrosarcoma: This form of cancer primarily affects patients aged between 35 and 55. It affects makes more than females, and initiates in soft tissues, especially those behind the knee.
Ewing’s sarcoma: This type of bone tumor primarily affects children aged between 4 and 15 and initiate in the middle of the long bones of that of legs and the arms.
Bone Cancer Symptoms
The bone cancer symptoms may vary from person to person, depending on the age of the patient and the type of bone cancer that he or she is suffering from. All bone cancer symptoms tend to change with the severity of the condition and pain is one symptom that tend to persist through all stages of bone cancer.
The pain can be felt by the bone cancer patient during any time of the day or it could be felt at night only. Some patients are also able to experience a lump or a swelling in the tissues surrounding the site of the tumor or in the bone itself.
Some of the rare bone cancer symptoms that appear when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body include:
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
Some of the bone cancer symptoms may overlap with what seems to be the symptom for some other underlying condition. Therefore, it is necessary to contact a doctor immediately as soon as any discomfort or pain is experienced by the patient.
Bone Cancer Diagnosis
Bone cancer diagnosis typically involve the following steps:
- Physical exam: When you present yourself with a certain set of bone cancer symptoms, the doctor may first ask you about the family history of the disease, followed by a complete physical examination.
- Blood test: When the doctor suspects bone cancer, a blood test to measure the levels of an enzyme called alkaline phosphatase may be advised. This enzyme is present in excess when the bone tissue is very active, which appears to be the true in case of bone cancer. Other than bone cancer, the levels are high in case of mending bone fracture and abnormal bone tissue.
- X-ray: In case of high alkaline phosphatase enzyme, an X-ray is conducted to confirm the shape, size and the location of the tumor. It may be followed up with an angiogram, a CT scan or a MRI.
- Biopsy: A needle or an incisional biopsy is conducted at the end to confirm the bone cancer diagnosis. It is done by recovering a small sample from the suspected site of bone cancer and by looking for cancer cells in the sample placed under the microscope.
Bone Cancer Treatment in India
Bone cancer treatment in India includes the use of state-of-the-art technology and medical expertise for advanced diagnosis and timely treatment. Each year, hundreds of bone cancer patients travel to India to seek personalized care under the guidance of specially trained and highly experienced medical and nursing staff.
The primary form of bone cancer treatment in India is surgery, which can be used to stage the cancer of treat is completely by removing the tissues and the part of the bone affected by cancer.
The following are some of the types of surgeries conducted as a part of bone cancer treatment in India:
- Amputation: This type of surgery involves complete removal of the limb. An artificial part or prosthesis may be attached during the procedure to compensate for the lost part.
- Limb-sparing surgery: In this type of surgery, only cancer and some part of the surrounding tissues are removed. The patient is, thus, able to retain all parts of the body intact in this surgery.
- Staging: This type of surgery may be conducted before the actual treatment to determine the age of bone cancer.
In addition to the aforementioned surgeries, lymph nodes may be removed surgically in case the bone cancer has spread there. Additional surgeries may be carried out to ease bone cancer symptoms.
Best Hospitals for Bone Cancer Treatment in India
Some of the top hospitals for bone cancer treatment in India include:
- BLK Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi
- Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi
- Aster Medcity, Kochi
- Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon
- Global Health City, Chennai
- Global Hospital, Lakdi Ka Pul, Hyderabad
- Kokilaben Dhirubai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai
- Medanta The Medicity, Gurgaon
- Dharamshila Cancer Hospital, New Delhi
Bone Cancer Treatment Cost in India
The cost of bone cancer treatment in India is quite less as compared to other countries around the world, including Singapore, Malaysia, US, UK and the Middle East.
Bone cancer treatment cost in India falls between US $7000 and $9000, which included one week of hospitals stay, the cost of surgery, initial treatment, doctor’s fees, surgeon’s fees, bad charges and hospital charges. The same facilities for a week cost around $18000 to $22000 in the US.