Bone Cancer Awareness Week
Updated: Mar 3, 2020
This week (7 - 13 October 2019) is bone cancer awareness week.
What is Bone Cancer?
Bone cancer is a primary cancer that starts and grows in the bone - any bone, but most commonly in the longer bones of the lower body (i.e. the legs).
Although there are many types of bone cancer, it is an extremely rare form of cancer, with just 550 people a year being diagnosed with it in the UK.
The four most common forms are: Osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, Chondrosarcoma and Chordoma (note all the Sarcomas in that list!). Bone cancer can affect people of all ages, and due to that fact alone is quite unique, however it is most common in young people between 10 and 25 years and older people over 50.
What are the Symptoms?
Bone pain - This can be constant (there all the time) or intermittent (comes and goes). Painkillers may not help and the pain can be worse at night.
The area may be tender to touch
A lump or swelling may be seen, or felt, if the tumour is near the surface of the body. In other places (e.g. the pelvis) a lump or swelling may not be visible
Problems with mobility such as stiff joints or reduced movement
Development of an unexplained limp
What is the Prognosis?
Obviously, the prognosis for patients diagnosed with bone cancer depends on the stage at diagnosis, and the type of bone cancer (e.g. Osteosarcoma has lower survival rates than Chondrosarcoma - see the Cancer Research UK page for more info). Caught early, it can be easily cured through surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, at the later stages it can be more difficult to control and the 5 year survival rate is just over 50% on average of patients.
Although rare, it is important to know about rare cancers such as bone cancers and sarcomas, as this is the easiest way to reduce the amount of deaths through earlier diagnosis. Being aware of our bodies - our limbs, muscles, bones, skin, breasts, testicles, genitals, and the internal functions of our bodies - is key to early diagnosis. The earlier you can recognise something wrong, the better. If you find yourself with any persistent symptoms, then seek advice from your GP - it is as simple as that!
Support and Information
If you would like more information, or support, about bone cancer, the Bone Cancer Research Trust is an amazing charity that offers support for patients and their family members. Their aim this week is to spread awareness of their charity and of the cancer to improve prospects for patients.
Thanks for reading, guys! A more personal update blog will sure come soon!