Can bone cancer be prevented? Here's what an expert says

Feb 12, 2022 01:22 PM IST

One's risk to get bone cancer increases with age, genetic disorders, certain bone diseases, or exposure to high doses of radiation. So, is it possible to reduce risk of bone cancer?

The mere mention of 'C-word' can unnerve anyone. The dreaded disease can begin anywhere in the body and can spread to other parts as it advances. It's always better to nip the cancer in its bud for better treatment.

Bone cancer(Pexels)
Bone cancer(Pexels)

The risk of certain types of cancer can be reduced by adopting a healthier lifestyle - eating better, staying physically active, away from pollutants and overall moving towards a healthy way of life. However, experts say it is not the case in most of the bone cancers usually. 

One's risk to get bone cancer increases with age, genetic disorders such as Li-Fraumeni and hereditary retinoblastoma, certain bone disorders such as Paget’s disease, or exposure to high doses of radiation. So, is it possible to reduce risk of bone cancer?

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"While the risk in many types of cancer like breast cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer etc can be reduced by making modifications in lifestyle like diet, physical activity and other lifestyle choices, in case of bone cancers, especially primary ones, there is no way to protect against most of these cancers," Dr. Vijay Agarwal, Lead Consultant - Medical Oncology, Aster RV Hospital told HT Digital.

"These risk factors cannot be modified, and there are no known modifiable lifestyle risk factors that cause primary bone cancers," adds Dr Agarwal.

The oncologist says that reducing the risk of developing cancers overall reduces the chances of bones developing metastasis. This can be done by leading a healthy lifestyle. "Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are two big risk factors that could damage immunity and lead to an increased risk of developing cancer,"

What is bone cancer and what are its symptoms

Cancer in the bones are called bone cancers and they may be primary or secondary. The common symptoms of bone cancer include pain at the site, fatigue, fever, unusual swelling in certain areas and difficulty moving a body part, among others.

Primary bone cancers arise from the cells of the bones and are called sarcomas. In metastatic bone cancers, cancers arise from different organs such as breast, lung, thyroid, kidney, prostate, etc. and then spread to the bones.

Importance of bone health

"Bone health must be maintained by doing regular exercise, regular intake of calcium, green leafy vegetables and protein such as milk and milk products such as cheese, paneer, fresh milk, vegetables such as dark leafy greens like broccoli, bok choy, lady finger, fatty protein sources like fish, etc. can contribute towards good bone health," says Dr Agarwal.

The expert also suggests exercises that strengthen the bones, such as weight-bearing and resistance exercises, cardio activities like running, dancing, aerobics or games like squash, tennis, for good bone health.

"Early detection is the best way to better treatment outcomes, hence keep a close watch for symptoms," he concludes.

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