|Malignant bone tumor|
"Malignant tumor" is another term for cancer. These are masses or growths that tend to increase rapidly in size and often have the ability to spread to other parts of the body (metastasize). Cancers typically begin as normal tissues which change (due to some combination of genetic and environmental factors) and begin rapidly growing. While normal tissues grow at a controlled rate, cancers tend to grow uncontrollably and spread rapidly. Patients often note a mass which increases in size with time. They may have associated pain related to this. Weight loss is seen occasionally. Bone tumors may cause night pain which is not related to activity.
One of the ways in which we evaluate cancers is by assigning them a "grade". The term grade is given by a pathologist who looks at biopsied tumor tissue under the microscope and determines how quickly the cells are dividing and also how unusual the cells appear. Cancers that have slowly dividing cells that are only moderately unusual are referred to as "low-grade tumors". Low-grade tumors have a lesser ability to spread to other parts of the body and are also less likely to recur after they have been removed. Higher grade tumors on the other hand tend to look very unusual when observed under the microscope and also multiply quite rapidly. These have a higher likelihood of spreading to other parts of the body and also a higher likelihood of recurring after they have been surgically removed.
We also refer to malignant tumors in terms of their "stage". Stage is assigned based on the grade of the tumor and also the location of the tumor. There are a number of different staging systems; however, in general, the lower number the stage, the better the overall survival. The stage tends to increase with higher grade tumors and tumors that have traveled to other parts of the body either through the blood system or the lymphatic system (lymph nodes).
Each tumor has a typical pattern of spread. Diagnostic testing in the form of blood work or x-rays is tailored to the specific type of tumor. This process is called staging and it occurs after the diagnosis of a cancer. It is essentially a search to identify the extent of the tumor locally and also whether the tumor has spread to other locations within the body. This is important when designing a plan of treatment, both surgically and medically.
More common types of malignant bone tumors are:
|Malignant Extremity Tumors|
|Benign Extremity Tumors|
|Soft Tissue Sarcoma|
|Metastatic Bone Disease|
|Conrad J. Tirre, MD|
Dr. Conrad Tirre is a plastic surgeon with the extremity tumor program. He completed his fellowship in plastic surgery at The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Because of the expertise he provides in reconstructive surgery following resection of extremity tumors, the extremity tumor program can offer limb-sparing reconstructive options.