What is musculoskeletal oncology?

Musculoskeletal oncology refers to the treatment of cancer affecting the soft tissue and bones.

Musculoskeletal oncologic treatment involves resolving the following:

  • Bone metastases
    occur when cancer travels from one (primary) site to the bone. Normally, most cancer metastasises to the bone when left untreated. Primary bone cancer (osteosarcoma) begins in the bone cells and can affect people of any age, particularly those between ten and thirty. Osteosarcoma typically develops in the arm, leg or pelvic bones. Ewing sarcoma is the second most common form of bone cancer that develops in the bones that make up the chest wall, spinal bones, long leg bones and pelvic bones.
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
    is cancer that forms in the body’s muscles, blood vessels, fibrous tissue and fat. A soft tissue sarcoma can occur in the legs, arms, chest and abdomen. A common sign of soft tissue cancer is swelling that occurs in any specific region of the body. In some cases, signs of a soft tissue sarcoma may not be apparent until the tumour grows to the extent that it presses against surrounding nerves and affects other areas of the body.
  • Bone tumours
    occur when cells of the bone multiply to the degree that an abnormal mass forms. While most bone tumours are classified as benign, some malignant tumours may arise, which need to be treated with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
  • Pathologic fractures
    are broken bones that occur due to the spread of cancer or any other underlying conditions. A condition such as cancer weakens the bones, which increases the risk of a fracture. Symptoms of cancer affecting the bone include swelling or a lump beneath the skin, pain, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss and fatigue.

How do you treat musculoskeletal-related cancer?

Surgery to remove the tumour along with a margin of skin/tissue is done to treat cancer. Surgical resection of the tumour is followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy, or in some cases, a combination of the two.


Is bone cancer treatable?

Stage 1 and 2 bone cancer can be treated easily. However, with stage 3 bone cancer, oncologists treat the condition to relieve symptoms.


Is soft tissue sarcoma considered a deadly condition?

If left untreated, soft tissue sarcoma can spread to other regions of the body, such as the lungs.


Why does a pathologic fracture occur?

Pathologic fractures can occur due to degenerative bone diseases such as osteoporosis or bone cancer.

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