Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is bone cancer treatable?"
My husband was diagnosed with bone cancer. How treatable is it? He seems to be ok for now and they caught it relatively early.
Cancer is a very frightening diagnosis. You should feel free to discuss all of your questions and concerns with your oncologist---and if you don't feel like you have a good relationship with this physician, it is always okay to seek a second opinion as this is the physician you will work with most closely in treating and managing the disease. Overall bone cancer can fall into one of two different categories. Some tumors that are found in the bone started in the bone, i.e. the primary cancer is a malignancy of the bone. However, other bone cancers are what we call secondary, or metastatic. This means that the cancer started somewhere else--say in the prostate or in the colon--and has spread to the bones. Treating bone tumors often depends on whether the tumor is a primary tumor or a metastatic lesion from a cancer that started somewhere else. If the tumor is metastatic the main treatment options are supportive--this means trying to treat pain and prevent fractures. Unfortunately, cancers that have spread to the bone are almost always not curable. However, they can still be treated and managed. On the other hand, primary bone tumors can sometime be cured, but this often requires surgery and radiation. Your oncologist can go over the options and treatment scenarios with you.
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