Bone Cancer (cont.)

What are the treatment options for bone cancer?

Treatment options depend on the type, size, location, and stage of the cancer, as well as the person's age and general health. Surgery is often the primary treatment. Although amputation of a limb is sometimes necessary, pre- or post-operative chemotherapy has made limb-sparing surgery possible in many cases. When appropriate, surgeons avoid amputation by removing only the cancerous section of the bone and replacing it with an artificial device called a prosthesis.

Chemotherapy and radiation may also be used alone or in combination. Because of the tendency for Ewing's sarcoma to metastasize rapidly, multidrug chemotherapy is often used, in addition to radiation therapy or surgery on the primary tumor.

Are new treatments being studied?

To develop new, more effective treatments, the National Cancer Institute is sponsoring clinical trials (treatment studies with cancer patients) in many hospitals and cancer centers around the country. Clinical trials are a critical step in the development of new methods of treatment. Before any new treatment can be recommended for general use, doctors conduct clinical trials to find out whether the treatment is safe for patients and effective against the disease. Various forms of cancer treatments using surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy for bone cancer are being tested in clinical trials.

Patients who are interested in learning more about participating in clinical trials can call the Cancer Information Service or access the clinical trials page of the National Cancer Institute's Web site at on the Internet.

SOURCE: U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute

Last Editorial Review: 7/25/2007

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