The following piece is a primer on the common myths associated with Bone Cancer, an introduction to Benign Bone Tumors, and attempts to put some of the widest speculation regarding the subject, at rest.
How Is A Bone Tumor Different From Bone Cancer?
Bone tumors are formed when living cells in the bone divide rapidly, forming a mass of tissue, entering a state of uncontrolled, inertial growth. Most tumors of the bone are benign, which means they are not cancerous and will not kill you. Such tumors do not metastasize, i.e. they do not spread to other areas of the body.
But they may still weaken the overall bone structure, and can lead to broken bones or cause other problems.
On the other hand, Bone Cancer is malignant, and destroys normal bone tissue. It may start in the bone, or spread to the bone from other parts of the body (Metastasis).
The Top 3 Myths About Benign Bone Tumors
These are the top questions that patients generally seek answers to, about Benign Bone Tumors. Here, the Onco.com team attempts to answer them objectively.
Question: Do Benign Bone Tumors Grow?
Answer: All tumours grow, both benign and malignant. Only the malignant ones can metastasize. Abnormal tissues can displace healthy tissues, and technically a benign tumor can grow and compress healthy bone tissues, causing further symptoms. However, only a malignant (cancerous) bone tumor can cause cancer to spread throughout the body.
Question: Are Benign Bone Tumors Painful?
Answer: In cases of a Benign Bone Tumor, most patients do not experience pain or any painful symptoms. They are just aware of the existence of a swelling/mass with no sensation. Bone tumors do not originate from injuries, but an injury to an existing bone tumor will cause immense pain. Such injuries can also cause fractures in bones that are already weakened by the tumor.
References:American Academy Of Orthopedic Surgeons
Question: Are Benign Bone Tumors Dangerous??
Answer: Benign Tumors by design, are non-malignant i.e; cannot spread to other parts of your body like regular cancers. But in some cases, they may obstruct blood vessels, or press against other organs, creating symptoms that may confuse patients because they're similar to cancerous symptoms.
What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Stronger?
No, this one doesn't make you stronger. In fact, benign or not, bone tumors are known to weaken the bones, making them prone to accidental fractures, reducing their tensile strength and causing general weakness.
Thanks For Reading!
This is a part of our series of Cancer Mythbusters.