Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Cancer Care

Fremont and San Leandro Medical Centers

Overview

Bone cancer can form in the bones (primary) or spread to the bone from other areas of the body (secondary). 

The types of primary bone cancer are:

  • Osteosarcoma
  • Chondrosarcoma
  • Ewing sarcoma
  • Chordoma

Bone is a common place for cancers (such as breast, lung, or prostate cancer) to spread. Cancer cells can break away from the original tumor and spread to the:

  • Spine
  • Hip
  • Shoulder
  • Thighbone 

Cancer that spreads to the bone is more common than cancer that starts in the bone. 

Treatment usually includes:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • A combination of these treatments
Additional References:

Surgery

You will likely have surgery to remove the tumor. If the cancer has spread, we may also surgically remove those tumors.

During surgery, we remove the tumor and a small amount of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor (margins). We do this to make sure no cancer cells are left behind that could cause a recurrence.

You might have chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove.

You might also have chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.

After surgery, you may need physical therapy to learn how to use:

  • An arm or leg affected by extensive surgery.
  • A man-made device (prosthesis) if an arm or leg is removed (amputated).

Types of Surgery

The following are common surgeries used to treat bone cancer.

Wide excision. We remove the entire tumor and some normal tissue around the tumor. 

Limb-sparing surgery. We remove bone tumors in the legs or arms without removing the limb. We use bone tissue from another part of your body to replace it.

Amputation. Rarely, we must remove a leg or arm to remove all of the cancer.

Cryosurgery. We might use this surgery when the tumor is in a sensitive location, such as the spine or the skull. We remove the tumor and pour liquid nitrogen into the empty space left by the tumor. It freezes and kills cancer cells. We then permanently fill the hole with bone cement or a piece of bone taken from another part of your body or a donor (bone graft).

Surgery Side Effects

Side effects depend on the location and extent of the surgery. Together, we’ll talk about the possible side effects of your specific surgery.

Potential side effects of surgery include:

  • Infections
  • A broken or loose bone graft or internal prosthesis
  • Pain around the surgical site
  • Phantom itching, tingling, or pain from a removed arm or leg
  • Loss of ability to move around (decreased mobility)

Let us know if you experience any problems after your procedure so we can help you.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. We might use it to:

  • Treat certain bone cancers that can’t be surgically removed.
  • Kill any cancer cells left behind after surgery.
  • Relieve symptoms of advanced tumors, such as pain and swelling. 

External-beam radiation delivers radiation from a machine outside the body. You may have treatment 5 days a week for several weeks.

Types of Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation is delivered by one of the following methods.

Conventional fractionated radiation therapy. The total dose of radiation is spread out over several weeks, or as appropriate for your particular condition. 

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) or 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT). Special computers are used to directly target the tumor and minimize the damage to normal tissues.

Proton-beam radiation therapy. Instead of X-rays, the source of radiation is protons. More radiation is delivered at the exact location of the tumor to spare healthy tissues. 

Stereotactic radiosurgery. This may be used for tumors in sensitive areas, such as the spine. Multiple beams of radiation deliver a large, focused dose to the tumor from different angles. Treatment can sometimes be done in a single session.

Radiation Therapy Side Effects

Side effects vary depending on the type and dose of radiation and the part of the body treated. 

Possible side effects of radiation therapy include:

  • Skin changes, such as redness
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling
  • Decreased blood cell counts

Most problems go away soon after treatment ends. Until then, we can help manage your side effects so they don’t interfere with quality of life.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is used to kill cancer cells. You may receive a combination of chemotherapy drugs to treat bone cancer.

Most chemotherapy used to treat bone cancer is delivered through a vein (systemic chemotherapy). It enters the bloodstream and attacks cancer cells throughout the body. It effectively treats fast-growing (high-grade) bone cancers.

We may give you chemotherapy before surgery, after surgery, or both.

Chemotherapy Side Effects

Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells, but they can also damage normal cells. 

When placed directly into the bladder (intravesical therapy), side effects are generally milder.

Intravesical immunotherapy side effects typically disappear within a couple of days after each treatment. They include:

  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Blood in the urine

Intravesical chemotherapy may cause:

  • An urgent and frequent need to urinate.
  • Pain when urinating.

Possible side effects of systemic chemotherapy are:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Kidney damage

Other side effects may include:

  • Decrease in blood counts
  • Susceptibility to infection
  • Infertility
  • Nerve damage

Systemic immunotherapy can cause:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Abnormal blood tests
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Diarrhea

Side effects typically go away after treatment. Let us know right away if you develop symptoms. We can help you manage them.

Clinical Trials

We’re always looking for new and better ways to treat bone cancer. Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments or procedures.

We can talk together about any clinical trials that may be right for you.

Additional References:

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