Several noted oncologists attending the Musculoskeletal Oncology Update here have opined that limb-saving surgery is now possible in more cases of bone cancers than ever and it is fast replacing amputation which was a standard treatment earlier.

The conference was organised by Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre and saw presence of Orthopaedic and Oncology specialists from across the country. The experts shared their views on the established and emerging concepts in the management of bone cancers.

“Limb surgery is now possible in 80-90 per cent cases and is fast replacing amputation. About 60-70 per cent patients at present can be cured of osteo-sarcoma if diagnosed at early stage,” said Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre Orthopaedic Oncologist consultant Dr. Akshay Tiwari.

Dr. Tiwari further said that several new techniques were proving useful in the treatment of bone cancer cases. The first technique was the use of expandable prosthesis in children of growing age. The other technique is extra-corporeal radiotherapy and re-implantation. In this case, after removal of tumour, the tumour-bearing bone is sent for radiotherapy to the whole specimen, while the patient is kept under anaesthesia so that the bone is rendered free of cancer. Then the bone is re-implanted.

Both techniques are presently being conducted at leading research institutes such as Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Bone tumour expert Sudhir Kapoor pointed out that bone tumour cases made up only 3-5 per cent of childhood cancers and less than one per cent of cancers in adults. In many cases, patients came to hospitals at the last stage and the doctors had not choice but to amputate the affected part of the body.

Shishir Rastogi and Shah Alam Khan of AIIMS said that children and teenagers were more prone to bone cancers. Since these are aggressive cancers, it is essential to detect and treat these patients in the early stages in order to save both their lives and limbs.

Dr. Rastogi said: “They are rarer forms of cancer, but very significant. Firstly they have a high morbidity and mortality if not treated early and secondly they affect mostly children and young adults which is the productive age group of the society. If we take into account the age group less than 24 years, the incidence is about 3-5 per million population per year in males and 2-4 per million population per year in females.”

  • 60-70 per cent patients can be cured if diagnosed at early stage

  • Several new techniques proving useful in treatment of bone cancer cases