Orthopaedic tumors and cancers
Benign bone tumors
Benign bone tumors are abnormal lumps of tissue that form when cells inside your bones divide uncontrollably. These tumors aren’t cancer and aren’t usually life-threatening. They grow slower than cancerous tumors and don't spread to other areas of the body. Bone cancer surgeons at Emory Orthopaedic Oncology treat benign tumors including those listed below.
Aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC)
Filled with blood, an aneurysmal bone cyst causes a bulge in the bone. These cysts are rare and usually occur on your knees or backbones. ABCs are most often found in people from birth through age 20.
These tumors usually form at the ends of long bones such as the thigh and upper arm. They’re small and contained within the bone, so you may not be able to see or feel them. Pain is the most common symptom. Chondroblastoma can affect anyone, but most often happens in men age 25 and younger.
Enchondroma begins in the connective tissue (cartilage) inside your bones – most often the small bones in your hands and feet. These tumors can begin in childhood and remain throughout adulthood, but rarely cause pain.
Fibrous dysplasia happens when scar-like tissue grows in place of normal bone. The abnormal tissue can weaken the bone and cause complications.
Giant cell bone tumor
Although not cancer, this rare tumor can destroy bone. It usually affects people ages 20 to 40, and is most effectively treated with surgery.
Hemangiomas are tumors made up of blood vessels. Bone hemangiomas usually happen in your skull or spine, and may grow on the surface or deep in the bone. These tumors are most common in people ages 50 to 70.
These rare, slow-growing tumors weaken healthy bone. Because they make your bones vulnerable to breaks from very minor injuries, surgery is required.
Osteochondromas form near the ends of bones during childhood or adolescence, and may grow larger as a child grows. The exact cause is still unknown. These tumors cause no pain and usually don’t need treatment.
Unicameral bone cyst
A unicameral (simple) bone cyst is a cavity in one of your bones, filled with straw-colored fluid. These tumors can affect your upper arm, thigh, pelvis, ankle or heel. Most unicameral bone cysts have no symptoms. They affect people age 20 and younger.
Cancerous cells can grow fast and metastasize (spread) to other areas of your body through your bloodstream. Malignant tumors can affect the breasts, prostate, bones or your immune system. At Emory Orthopaedic Oncology, we treat many kinds of malignant tumors.
These slow-growing tumors often affect the spine or skull base and can spread to other organs, usually your lungs.
Lymphoma can start in the bone marrow or in the cells that are part of your immune system. These tumors are more common in the pelvis and thighbone. Bone lymphoma usually happens in people ages 20 to 40.
Malignant fibrous histiocytoma
Malignant fibrous histiocytoma is the most common bone and soft tissue tumor in older adults. This aggressive cancer most often affects the thighs.
Metastatic bone disease
Cancer can metastasize (spread) to your bones from other organs such breasts, prostate or lungs. This can damage your bones and increase your risk for broken bones.
These tumors start in your bone marrow and are the most common cancer that begins in your bones. Myeloma usually affects people ages 50 to 70.
These tumors can affect any part of your body including bones, joint tissue, muscles and blood vessels.
Spine tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous. They may grow near your spine, in your spinal cord or in the bones of your spine. The types of spinal tumors are intradural, metastatic and primary.
Intradural spinal tumors
Intradural spinal tumors start in the spinal cord, spinal fluid or the area outside the spine.
The most common spinal tumors are extramedullary (they begin outside the spine) such as:
- Meningioma — usually noncancerous and starts in the tissue covering the spinal cord
- Schwannomas — noncancerous tumors starting in nerve cells.
These spinal tumors start in the spine:
- Astrocytoma — cancerous tumor of the brain cells that doesn’t usually spread
- Ependymoma — cancerous tumor that starts in the central nervous system tissue
- Hemangioblastoma — noncancerous tumor that starts in the spinal cord's blood vessels
Symptoms of intradural spine tumors include:
- Sensory loss
- Trouble walking
- Loss of bladder and bowel functions
Metastatic spinal tumors
Spinal tumors that spread to the spine from other parts of the body are metastatic spinal tumors. They can result in fractures and compression of the spinal cord or nerves.
Primary spinal column tumors
These tumors originate within the spine and are quite rare. Primary spinal tumors can be noncancerous or cancerous.
Noncancerous primary spinal tumors include:
- Aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC)
- Giant cell bone tumors
Cancerous primary spinal tumors include:
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