Ways & How

how to detect bone cancer

how to detect bone cancer

Bone infections are sometimes mistaken as bone cancer because the same results can be seen through blood tests or imaging scans. This is the reason why a biopsy has to be done when the patient is diagnosed with bone cancer for the purpose of re-confirming the diagnosis. How to detect bone cancer requires more than just one test because the symptoms of a single bone metastasis are more or less the same as that of a bone tumor. These are the testing methods done today:

  1. Tattered, hole-like images and lumps or tumors that can be seen on X-rays are often the basis of cancerous bones. Radiologists will be able to diagnose if those signs are malignant or benign just by looking at the images and observing the characteristics of the tumor. Nevertheless, a biopsy is always performed when there are some findings to officially confirm bone cancer.

  2. Capturing the body’s internal cross-sectional images is possible through computed tomography or CT scans. Multiple pictures will be taken as the machine rotates around the body.

    Stages of bone cancer can be determined through CT scans where complications to other internal organs are shown in the images. Dye injection will make the visuals clearer. If the patient develops an allergic reaction due to the dye, that must be treated also.

  3. MRIs or magnetic resonance imaging is the scanning process that uses radio waves and magnets to project the pattern created by various tissues and abnormalities within. The patterns will then be computerized and analyzed based on the very detailed shots of the body parts. Gadolinium will be injected to enhance the clarity of the images if needed. The patient will be placed inside a tubal device that might be disturbing for some.

  4. The spread of cancer can be measured through a radionuclide bone scan. Metastases will be easily observed using this device more so than X-rays. The extent of the bone damage can also be seen in the scanned primary bone. Technetium diphosphonate is a radioactive substance injected into the patient. This will then be absorbed by the deteriorating bone parts thereby showing gray patterns as areas of concerns.

  5. Using radioactive glucose, a positron emission tomography, or PET scan, can find cancer in the body. Radioactive sugars are drawn to cancer cells because of their high metabolic rate, and a special camera will capture the absorption. It can help determine if the tumor is cancerous.

  6. A biopsy is the process of getting a specimen from a tumor or affected cells for microscopic testing. This is often used as the follow-up diagnostic method to finalize that cancer is really detected. It will also be the doctor’s basis regarding the aggressiveness, origin, and movement of the cancer present. It can also tell if the tumor is benign or malignant.

  7. Fine and core needle biopsies are the two types of needle biopsies. FNA, or fine needle aspiration, is the first type of procedure involving a thin needle to draw some fluid into the syringe which is the cells from a mass or tumor for testing. Interventional radiologists facilitate core needle biopsies where the doctor is guided by a CT scan to place the needle into the target area when it’s too deep to be felt.

  8. Under the aid of general anesthesia, a surgical bone biopsy, or incisional biopsy, can be done to the patient. It is where a small portion of tissue is removed for testing. It is called an excisional biopsy if the tumor is removed completely.

How to detect bone cancer is not simple, but do not take chances when you feel some symptoms. Painful bone areas, swelling, weight loss, and fatigue are some things to look for.


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