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Bone Tumors

What are Bone Tumors?

These involve abnormal tissue growth in bones. Most of the cases are non-cancerous (benign) while a proportion are cancerous (malignant). Bone tumors are not common and are easily misdiagnosed. If present, bone tumors often occur in children and teenagers.

What are the symptoms of Bone Tumors?

Patients with bone tumors may experience symptoms or present with signs, which can vary and may even be similar to those of less serious conditions. The signs and symptoms may include:

  • Bone or joint pain: pain that comes and goes, constant pain that does not respond to painkillers, severe pain at rest, night pain
  • Swelling and tenderness around the lesion
  • Presence of a tissue mass (that can be seen or palpated)
  • Rapid growth of the mass
  • Changes in the overlying skin
  • Decreased range of motion of the joint or less functional limb
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite or unintended loss of weight

It is advisable to get these signs and symptoms checked by a specialist orthopedic surgeon. In the best-case scenario, something turns out to be harmless and reassurance can be provided.

If there is any suspicion for something more sinister, it is best to know about it early as certain treatment options depend on early diagnosis.

How are Bone Tumors diagnosed?

Establishing the correct diagnosis is paramount in musculoskeletal oncology. If the initial diagnosis is wrong, inadequate decisions in further management of the disease and treatment will follow.

Bone cancers are not very common. A high clinical suspicion by the healthcare professional is necessary to detect these rare malignancies.

Establishing the diagnosis might involve various steps such as:

  • Taking the patient’s medical history
  • Having a thorough physical examination
  • Using various imaging modalities
  • Blood tests
  • Taking tissue samples from the tumor (biopsy)

For early detection, it is highly recommended to get an expert opinion from a specialized orthopedic surgeon with expertise and experience in orthopedic oncology.

How are Bone Tumors treated?

For non-cancerous tumors:

  • Often do not need surgery
  • Close monitoring by the orthopedic oncologist may be needed
  • Medicine may be prescribed

For cancerous tumors:

  • Interdisciplinary meetings (tumor boards) to discuss individual cases in order to offer personalized options
  • Not only treated by an orthopedic surgeon but will be attended to by doctors from various disciplines

Treatment options depend on:

  • Type and grade of the tumor
  • Size and location of the lesion
  • Extent of the tumor burden (stage)

Treatment options may include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Surgery

A combined approach of these options is often used to achieve the best-possible outcome. The treatment aims are cancer survival, good quality of life, and good limb function.

Reviewed by Dr. Gurpal Singh, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon, Centre for Orthopaedics and Hip and Knee Surgery

To learn more, reach out to us at +65 6363 1818 or send an enquiry here. Alternatively, you could also click here to make an appointment.