News
February 12, 2016

Caregiver Awareness: Bone Cancer

Caregivers in Minneapolis MN

February is Cancer Prevention Month, a month long observation dedicated to educating people on the different types of cancers that exist, their risk factors, and what you can do to help reduce those risk factors and prevent cancer from becoming an unwelcome part of your life. As a family caregiver for your elderly parents, this is a chance for you to learn more about the types of cancers that are not as prevalent or as emphasized in popular culture so that you can be aware of the risks and prepared to handle them as they arise.

One type of cancer that is not discussed as often as others is bone cancer. This is a relatively rare cancer that originates in the bone itself rather than metastasizing, or spreading, from somewhere else in the body into the bone. Though this type of cancer can occur in any of the bones throughout the body, the most common bones to see these problems are those within the legs and arms. Though some people see bone cancer as a childhood malady, there are sever forms that primarily affect adults.

Like many cancers, the signs and symptoms of bone cancer can be somewhat vague and you may not immediately think of cancer as being the cause if you start to notice that your elderly parent is experiencing these symptoms. This is why it is so important to be vigilant about your loved one’s health and recognize when there are distinct and otherwise unexplainable changes in their health and wellbeing, including changes in their behavior, the way that they do normal things throughout the day, and their complaints as these subtle changes could be an indication of more serious concerns.

Some common symptoms of bone cancer include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss that is not related to any efforts to lose weight, or does not seem to correspond with the senior’s lifestyle
  • Pain in the bones
  • Broken bones
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness

Doctors are not entirely sure why bone cancer develops or what is the cause of this development in one person as opposed to another. There are some risk factors, however, that seem to be linked to higher instances of bone cancer, including Paget’s disease of the bone, which is more common among older adults, rare genetic diseases and conditions, or a history of exposure to radiation such as in the case of radiation therapy for other forms of cancer.

Though there are several forms of bone cancer, the one that impacts middle-aged and elderly adults most often is chondrosarcoma. This type of cancer is more prevalent in the arms, pelvis, and legs, and does not generally impact children or younger adults. The cancer begins in the cartilage and spreads throughout the area.

If you have noticed new symptoms or behaviors in your aging parent and are worried, do not hesitate to discuss your concerns with his doctor so that he can get a proper examination and diagnosis, and begin on a course of treatment that is right for his needs.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bone-cancer/home/ovc-20126418

If you or an aging loved one are considering help for family caregivers in St. Paul, MN and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.