Primary bone cancer

Primary bone cancer treatment at GenesisCare

We’re specialists in the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating all types of cancer, including bone cancer. We have teams of highly trained cancer specialists who are experts in this disease. They work together to evaluate the newest, evidence-based approaches so we can offer these to every patient – without delay.

Chapter 1

Treatment overview

Bone cancer treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or targeted therapy. We combine this with consultant-led integrative care, such as wellbeing therapies and psychological support, to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Our qualified physiotherapists and wellbeing consultants will carefully plan these therapies tailored to your needs by working with you and your consultant.

This information is specifically about diagnosing and treating primary bone cancer, which starts in your bones. Primary bone cancer is different to secondary bone cancerwhich is where a cancer has spread to your bones from a tumour that started elsewhere in your body. Secondary bone cancer is treated differently to primary bone cancer, depending on where the original cancer started. Read more about the diagnosis and treatment of secondary bone cancer.  

Cancers that originate in the bone marrow, such as leukaemia, myeloma and lymphoma, aren’t classified as bone cancers. These are known as blood (or haematological) cancers. Find out more about blood cancers. 

Bone cancer can affect people of all ages, however some types of bone cancer are more common in children and young people. According to Cancer Research UK, there are around 550 new cases of bone cancer in the UK each year, but an early diagnosis and treatment can mean a positive outcome for most. 

We are the UK’s leading specialist independent cancer care provider. By choosing us, you can be reassured that your treatment will be managed by a team of specialists working together, with you, to decide the best, personalised care plan for your diagnosis. 

It is our commitment to offer world-class care to every patient with cancer. 

How is bone cancer treated?

There are a number of options of treatment available for bone cancer at GenesisCare, such as:  

  • Surgery – removal of part or all of the bone that contains the cancer 
  • Chemotherapy – anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs which destroy the cancerous cells 
  • Radiotherapy – high-energy radiation beams which are targeted at the cancer cells 
  • Targeted therapy – a specialised group of drugs that attack or block certain processes in the cancer cells  

Contact us

For more information about bone cancer treatments, you can contact us in confidence. We will be happy to answer any of your questions.
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Chapter 2

Diagnostics

Diagnosing bone cancer

At GenesisCare we diagnose and treat a wide range of cancers, and we understand that this can be a very worrying time. Our diagnostic services are world-class, and our commitment is to give you the answers you need, as quickly as possible. It’s important to remember that symptoms can often be caused by other conditions and not always bone cancer. Butwhatever your diagnosis, we can make sure you get the expert care you need and without delay. 

If you’re concerned about bone cancer symptoms, we offer specialist tests and diagnostics in our centres. Here you’ll see one of our expert consultants who specialise in cancers affecting the bonesThey’ll assess your symptoms and, if necessary, refer you for diagnostic tests such as a biopsy or imaging scans (including X-ray, CT or MRI).  

Bone cancer symptoms

Bone cancer symptoms can vary depending on the size and location of the tumour. Common symptoms of bone cancer include: 

  • Bone pain 
  • Bone fracturing 
  • A lump over the bone 
  • Swelling or redness 
  • Difficulty moving the joint 
  • Fatigue 
  • High temperature (fever) 
  • Unexplained weight loss 

These symptoms may be caused by other benign (non-cancerous) conditions and having one or more of the above doesn’t mean you have bone cancer. If you’re concerned about bone cancer, you should talk to your GP and they can refer you to a specialist if they think it’s needed. 

Chapter 3

Surgery

Surgery is usually the main treatment for bone cancer and forms part of an overall treatment and care plan. It aims to remove all of the cancer while preserving as much function as possible.

Our consultants include expert surgeons who work in local and nationally renowned hospitalsthey’ll work together with other cancer specialists to decide the best course of treatment for you. If your consultant recommends bone cancer surgery, this can be arranged conveniently at one of our partner hospitals. Your other treatments can then continue at GenesisCare.  

There are different procedures for bone cancer surgery that can preserve your limb function. Your surgeon will recommend the most appropriate technique depending on the location of your cancer. With limb preservation surgery, it’s often possible to reconstruct or replace the cancerous parts of the bone, and if the cancer is near a joint, such as the hip, your surgeon may be able to replace it with a customised artificial prosthesis. In rare situations, it may not be possible to preserve your limb function.  

You may have chemotherapy or radiotherapy alongside surgery to improve the chances of a positive outcome.  

Surgery side effects

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you, together with how your treatment plan and supporting care can help to manage or minimise these. 

Chapter 4

Drug treatments

At GenesisCare, we offer all drug therapies that can be used to treat and manage bone cancer, including many of the newest treatments. Depending on how these treatments are given to you, you may need to attend one of our private chemotherapy suites which are staffed by our specialist nurses. Our compassionate nursing teams are available 24/7 on a dedicated on-call telephone service and provide personalised care to answer any queries during your treatment. They’ll be able to provide advice about side effects or symptoms and help arrange appropriate medical care when needed.

Our centres have all received the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark to reflect the quality of care we provide for people living with cancer. 

There are different types of drug treatments, also called systemic anti-cancer therapies. Our expert teams continually review and assess new treatments to make these available to GenesisCare patients as early as possible.  

Chemotherapy for bone cancers 

Chemotherapy uses cytotoxic (anti-cancer) drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy for bone cancer can be delivered in combination with radiotherapy (chemoradiation) and you’ll likely have chemotherapy or chemoradiation to reduce the size of your cancer before surgery, or after surgery to prevent the cancer from coming back.  

Targeted therapy for bone cancers 

Targeted (also called biological) therapies are a specialised group of drugs that have been designed to attack or block specific processes in cancer cells that tumours depend on to survive and grow. You may have a targeted therapy for a specific kind of bone cancer, your consultant will discuss this in more detail with you.  

Palliative care 

If your cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it’s called advanced or metastatic bone cancer. At GenesisCare, you can receive palliative drug treatment for advanced bone cancer, to reduce the size and progress of your cancer and ease any symptoms.  

Personalised medicine 

For some advanced cancers, we use specialist tests, such as liquid biopsy or genomic testing, to understand the genetic make-up of cancer cells. This helps us to identify which drugs are available to work against the particular genetic mutations in a cancer, allowing us to start effective treatment without delay. 

There may also be opportunities to access clinical trials for the newest treatments for bone cancer. 

Drug treatment side effects 

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you depending on your drug treatment, together with how your treatment plan and supporting care can help to manage or minimise these. 

Windsor
Chapter 5

Radiation therapy

Radiotherapy uses targeted, high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. It’s not often used as a treatment for all bone cancers, however, radiotherapy does commonly form part of an overall treatment for Ewing’s sarcoma. You may have radiotherapy for other types of bone cancer, if its spread or after surgery.

At GenesisCare, we are the leading private provider of radiotherapy in the UK and offer world-class expertise and state-of-the-art facilities that specialise in advanced radiotherapy techniques. Our latest-generation radiotherapy machines (called linacs) deliver highly targeted radiation beams that are designed to be effective while minimising the radiation dose to healthy tissues.

Your treatment will be governed by our expert multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), consisting of oncologists and radiotherapists, who work together to ensure that you only receive the best possible care.

Radiotherapy techniques for bone cancer

Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a modern radiotherapy technique that directs beams of radiation in an arc across the treatment area. Together with surface-guided radiotherapy (SGRT), it’s possible to precisely target areas of cancer by adjusting the beam and intensity of the radiation dose to allow for movements in the body and avoid healthy tissues. Side effects of radiotherapy occur when healthy tissues receive radiation, using this technique helps to limit the dose to tissues and organs surrounding the tumour. At GenesisCare, we offer VMAT wherever possible because it is widely recognised to be the highest standard of care currently available for patients needing this type of radiotherapy. 

We also offer palliative VMAT radiotherapy for those living with advanced or metastatic bone cancer, where it has spread elsewhere in the body, to improve pain and increase mobility. We understand that fast access to palliative care is paramount and can usually provide treatment within 48 hours of a planning imaging scan. We also offer stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) for cancers that have spread to the bones from elsewhere in the body, this is called secondary bone cancer. 

Side effects of radiotherapy

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you at the beginning of your course of radiotherapy, together with how your treatment plan and supporting care can help to manage or minimise these. 

Chapter 6

Integrative care

At GenesisCare, we do more than just treat your cancer. As part of our unique and integrative approach to cancer care, you can expect the best possible care and a personalised treatment plan that includes access to life-changing therapies which are proven to improve cancer-related outcomes. These therapies will be tailored to you to help you manage and cope with your cancer as well as the specific side effects of treatment.

Exercise medicine

Exercise medicine is a personalised programme of carefully planned and supported physical activity that has been shown to improve outcomes for cancer patients, enhancing quality of life and limiting the impact of cancer, such as by improving strength and reducing fatigue. One of our physiotherapists specialising in exercise for people living with cancer will provide a 12-week programme tailored to your needs and supported by our dedicated GenesisCare Exercise Medicine app. They’ll work closely with you to monitor changes in your health and support you throughout the programme to help you get the best results. This is available at selected GenesisCare centres. 

Wellbeing

We also offer wellbeing and holistic therapies such as counselling, acupuncture, massage and reflexology through our unique partnership with the charity, Penny Brohn UK. This service is available to all bone cancer patients at any of our 14 UK centres 

Chapter 7

Why choose us?

GenesisCare is a leading private provider of cancer care, offering the latest innovations and techniques that are proven to be safe and effective. If you choose us for bone cancer treatment you will be under the care of a team of experts, including consultant oncologists and surgeons. They will design a personalised care plan based around your diagnosis and preferences, with treatment starting within days if needed. Every patient is also supported through their journey with life-changing therapies, such as exercise medicine and psychological support.

Our dedicated cancer centres are convenient and easy-to-access. You can use your private medical insurance, and we’re recognised by all leading insurers. 

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, our priority is to continue providing the very best cancer care with meticulous measures in place to ensure our patients receive the treatments they need safely and without delay. You can find out more about our COVID-19 safety measures here. 

We are proud that so many patients rate our care as excellent as we help them through their cancer journey. Find out more about the unique experiences of people who have had their cancer diagnosis or treatment at GenesisCare in our patient stories section.