Sometimes it happens that the cells within our bodies start dividing themselves uncontrollably, ending up forming a mass or a lump of tissue which is actually a tumour. Similarly, bone tumors are tumours which form in the bones, and with increasing size of a tumour, the tumor can end up replacing the healthy tissues.
Tumours can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). It’s the malignant tumors which spread to other parts of the body and most likely cause death. However, the less harmful benign tumors are still dangerous and require treatment because their growth could mean the compression of healthy bone tissue.
Though the reason behind the growth of bone tumours is unknown, a few theories have been put forward. One of them says that tumors grow sometimes when the body parts grow rapidly. Other theories suggest injuries to the bones and genetics and metal implants in bones as likely reasons to develop a bone tumor.
The most common symptom includes a mild and continuous ache in the bone which occurs due to the tumor, along with an occasional swelling. The symptom starts off as occasional pangs of pain and develops into a full-fledged and constant pain so severe that it might actually wake one up from their deep sleep. Some people might confuse this with some sort of bone injury, and this is known as a pathologic fracture. Sometimes the site of the tumor will have to swell.
Children might suffer fevers or night sweats as a result of the tumor. In some cases, there is no pain, but simply a growth of tissue in some part of the body or the other. In other patients, the lack of symptoms results in the delayed detection of the tumor, and tumors like Osteochondroma don’t even require any medical attention till the time they don’t affect the bone’s function and movement.
Infections or fractures in bones might sometimes seem like a tumor, which is why it’s best to consult a doctor and undergo thorough testing before coming to any conclusions.
Diagnosis and Treatments
The most common tests done to diagnose the severity of the tumor include Blood and Urine Tests, Imaging Tests and Biopsies.
In cases of a benign tumor, doctors keep a close watch on it in case it starts affecting other parts of the body. A close watch can be done via regular visits to the doctor as well as follow-up X-rays. There is no rule for such tumors – they may shrink and disappear, remain the same size or increase in their size. Children maturing into adults have a greater chance of their bone tumors disappearing. In rare cases, the benign tumors can turn into malignant tumors, in which case surgery becomes necessary.
In cases of malignant tumors, a team of doctors keeps the child under constant supervision to ensure their maximum functioning. Radiation Therapy, Chemotherapy and surgery are the best and safest options to remove such cancerous tumors.