Any cancer diagnosis is scary and life-changing, but there is something about cancer that begins in or spread to the bones that can feel incredibly distressing to patients and their families. Many patients wonder "why didn't I see the signs?" or "could this have been prevented?"
The orthopedic oncology specialists and researchers at MedStar Health treat thousands of patients with both common and rare orthopedic tumors each year and have treated many variations of the disease at all stages of diagnosis.
Signs and Symptoms of Orthopedic Tumors
- Bone pain that comes and goes or gets worse at night
- Swelling or tenderness, with or without bone pain
- Weak bones or easy fractures
- Extreme fatigue or weight loss
These symptoms can also be attributed to non-cancerous conditions or osteoporosis. If you have any of the above symptoms, see your primary care physician right away.
Orthopedic Cancer Risk Factors
There is no clear cause of bone or soft tissue cancer, but doctors and researchers have determined factors that increase risk:
- Previous radiation therapy
- Previous chemotherapy
- Metal implants
- Bone marrow (stem cell) transplantation
- Osteosarcoma in a family member
- Hereditary retinoblastoma (a rare eye cancer cause by genetic mutation)
Current or Previous Conditions
- Cancer that has spread from another area of the body
- Paget's disease
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Rothmund-Thomson syndrome
- Tuberous sclerosis
- Diamond-Blackfan anemia
- Children born with umbilical hernia
Family history of osteosarcoma or other orthopedic cancers is a known risk factor for patients. Genetic counseling can help assess your risk of orthopedic cancers based on your family medical history.
Orthopedic Cancer Prevention
Because it is not clear what causes orthopedic cancer, it is difficult to determine ways to prevent the disease. As with any cancer, though, the key to better outcomes is early detection of orthopedic cancer and of any cancer type, preventing metastatis to the bones. Your outcomes can also be improved with a healthy, tobacco-free lifestyle that includes optimal nutrition, exercise and stress reduction.
Orthopaedic Cancer at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
The National Center for Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors
9103 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237