Bone cancer in children2019-07-13
Bone cancer in children is one of the most common types of cancers in children. It usually occurs in the long bones such as legs, arms, and pelvis. It’s more prevalent in males than females due to the rapid growth rate. Bone cancer cells can also spread to the heart, lungs, kidneys, and adrenal glands. Not all bone tumors are fatal. Primary bone cancer is quite rare and mostly starts in the bone. Secondary bone cancer is the most common. It can start anywhere in the body and spread to the bone.
Although bone cancer does not have clear causes, researchers have identified several factors. Some of the causes include:
Children with hereditary abnormalities like polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, retinoblastoma, osteogenesis imperfecta, Paget’s disease, and Ollier’s disease have an increased risk for developing bone cancer.
Repeated trauma in one area can contribute to this type of cancer. Cancer lesions in the bone can result in weaker bones. However, production of osteoid can increase due to the repeated injuries in one area. The rapid production of osteoid may lead to malignancy.
Exposure to ionizing irradiation has also been linked to this type of cancer.
Diagnosis involves a number of tests such as bone scans, X-rays, computer-assisted tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a biopsy of the tumor, and bone marrow aspiration. The treatment and prognosis depend on multiple factors like the child’s age, the extent of cancer, overall health status, and medical history. Treatment may include one of the following:
- Radiation therapy
- Prosthesis fitting and training
- Antibiotics to prevent and treat infections
- Cyberknife therapy
- Rehabilitation including psychosocial adaptation and occupational therapy
- Continual follow-up care to determine treatment response and management of late infections
The long-term survival can vary from child to child. Aggressive therapy and prompt medical attention are important for the best prognosis.