Bone cancer rarely begins in the bone. A tumor that does originate in the bone is referred to as a sarcoma. More commonly, bone cancer forms when cancer from another part of the body metastasizes to the bone.
If you have a strong family history of sarcomas, you may consider speaking with your healthcare provider about their recommendations for genetic testing. Families with a history of certain inherited conditions have an increased risk of developing soft-tissue sarcomas.
You should expect to be asked questions about your health history, your symptoms, risk factors, and family history of disease. Your doctor will discuss the specifics of your condition during your meeting. Understanding your background will help your provider make a diagnosis.
Your doctor may have you take one or more of the following tests:
- Imaging Test. An X-ray image is recommended to examine a lump in question, and may be followed by an X-ray of your chest to check if the sarcoma has spread to your lungs. These tests may reveal abnormalities that your healthcare providers are searching for.
- Computer Tomography (CT) Scan. CT scans are X-ray images most useful for detecting if a sarcoma has formed in the chest, abdomen, or the retroperitoneum.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan. An MRI scan uses radio waves and strong magnets instead of X-rays to take pictures of the body. A computer translates the patterns into a very detailed image of parts of the body in question. MRI scans take longer than CT scans – usually around an hour.
- Biopsy Tissue Sample. A biopsy removes tissue or cells to be checked by a pathologist under a microscope. Results from a biopsy help determine if abnormal cells are cancer. Your doctor may perform this procedure in a variety of ways including fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy and core needle biopsy. Ask your provider about your specific type of biopsy to learn more.
Patients will be called within five days after biopsy by a nurse navigator. Further management will be recommended at that time.
For more information on the diagnosis, treatment and more of sarcoma, visit our sarcoma information pages below.