Risk Factors/Signs and Symptoms

Research is increasing regarding what we know about bone cancer. Scientists are learning more about its causes. Following are common risk factors for the disease:

Bone Marrow Transplantation - Osteosarcoma has been reported in a few patients who have undergone stem cell transplantation.

Genetic Disorders - A small number of bone tumors are believed to be the result of genetic mutations:

The Li-Fraumeni Syndrome - A mutation of the p53 tumor suppressor gene makes people much more likely to develop several types of cancer, including breast cancer, brain cancer, osteosarcoma, and other types of sarcoma.

Rothmund-Thomson Syndrome - Children with this syndrome are short, have skeletal problems, and rashes. They also are more likely to develop osteosarcoma.

Multiple Exostoses Syndrome - Patients with this inherited condition that causes many bumps on a person's bones can have an increased risk of chondrosarcoma.

Radiation - Exposure to large doses of radiation may also increase the risk of developing bone cancer. Also, radioactive materials such as radium and strontium can also cause bone cancer because these minerals build up in bones.

Signs and Symptoms

The most common symptom of bone cancer is pain. Persistent or unusual pain or swelling in or near a bone can be caused by cancer.

If cancer metastasizes and migrates into bones, it makes them weak. Weakened bones are more likely to break. Fractures occur most often in the leg bones near the hip because these bones support most of your weight.

Cancer in the bone may cause severe pain for a while before the bone actually breaks. It is important to consult a doctor if this occurs as an x-ray may show if the bone is likely to break.

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