Type: Research Essays
Sample donated: Herbert Mason
Last updated: September 20, 2019
Osteosarcoma Primary bonecancers are cancers that happen to the main bones. They are rare, with only about “580 newcases each year in the UK” (according to MacMillan Research). There are severaldifferent types of bone cancer, with osteosarcoma being one of the more commonones. It is a type of cancer that produces immature bone tumours.
It is the most common inlengthy bones, and it is usually found in knees, thigh bones, shin bones or upperarms. Causes of osteosarcoma:The exact causesof primary bone cancer are unknown but it is thought to be linked to periods of rapidbone growth, such as puberty. Adults who have had a bone condition calledPaget’s disease or have been previously treated with radiotherapy have anincreased risk of developing osteosarcoma. Sometimes, osteosarcomas may beinherited from past generations in the family; there is an inherited faultygene that increases the risk of developing several other types of inheritedcancers.
Symptoms of Osteosarcoma:Pain is the mostcommon symptom of osteosarcoma. However, symptoms may vary depending on wherethe cancer is and how large it is. Tumours that occur in or near joints may causeswelling in the affected area and restricted movement in the joint. Often thepain is thought to be related to muscle soreness but it does not go away withrest and keeps accumulating. Treatment:The surgeonremoves the tumour and will aim to take out an area of normal tissue around itto reduce the risk of the cancer cells growing again.
The aim of this surgeryis to preserve the limb where a tumour is rather than cutting the limb off.This may not be carried out if the cancer is in a confined space where thesurgeon cannot reach. Chemotherapyuses anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. It is also used before surgery to reduce thesize of the tumour so it can be more easily removed. This can be useful to treatlarge tumours and can prevent the need to have the limb amputated.
Radiotherapyuses high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. Two or more lowenergy radiation beams are concentrated on the area of cancer; this allows the surroundingcells to be exposed to safer levels of radiation. Radiotherapy also has a slimchance of causing cancer itself, since the radiation may ionise the mineral ionsin the surrounding cells. Mouth (Oral) Cancer This form of cancer can appear in the mouth, where thedisease can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat. Mouth cancers are morecommon in people over 60, particularly men; however, research has shown thatmouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women. In somecountries there is an increased risk because of problems such as tobaccochewing. There are, on average, almost 7,000 new cases of mouth cancerdiagnosed in the UK each year.
Causes of Mouthcancer:Most cases of mouth cancer are linked to tobacco andalcohol. However, the traditional habits in some cultures of chewing tobacco,betel quid, gutkha and paan are particularly dangerous. Alcohol increases therisk of mouth cancer, and if tobacco and alcohol are taken together the risk iseven greater. Over-exposure to sunlight can also increase the risk of cancer ofthe lips.
In addition, many recent reports have linked mouth cancer to thehuman papillomavirus (HPV). Symptoms:Since mouth cancer can appear in different forms and canaffect all parts of the mouth, there is range of symptoms. Mouth cancer canappear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally and accumulates insize. A white (leukoplakia) or red (erythroplakia) patch in the mouth can alsodevelop into a cancer. This kind of cancer can cause difficulty or pain with chewing, swallowing or speaking which can leadto bleeding or numbness in the mouth. Treatments: For some early stage cancers,laser surgery may be available depending on where the cancer is.
This uses athin beam of light to cut away layers of cancer cells. The amount of tissue thesurgeon takes away depends on where your cancer is. The surgeon may needto rebuild part of the removed area with tissues taken from other parts of thebody. This is usually carried out if thetumour is easily accessible by the surgeon. Externalradiotherapy is sometimes given instead of surgery to treatpremature mouth cancers.
It is often used after surgery to reduce the risk ofthe cancer coming back or to treat cancer that has come back. Radiotherapy mayalso be used to treat the neck area if there are signs of cancer in the lymphnodes. Sometimes internalradiotherapy is given to treat small lip cancers. This involvesputting a solid radioactive material in the tumour for a short time. A surgeonplaces very thin radioactive needles, wires or tubes in the tumour. These areleft in place until the right amount of radiation has been given, which maytake up to six days.
The chemotherapy drugs most often used to treat mouthcancer are cisplatin and fluorouracil (5FU). Theseare usually given into a vein. Chemotherapy isn’t usually used to treat lipcancer but other mouth cancer types. Researchers have found thatchemoradiotheropy works better than radiotherapy alone for some people withmouth and oropharyngeal cancer.
Chemotherapy drugs can make cells moresensitive to radiotherapy; thus helping radiotherapy to kill cancer cells. This can be given instead of surgery totreat early mouth cancers or after surgery to reduce the risk of cancerreturning. BrainTumours Malignantbrain tumours grow faster than benign tumours. They cause problems by spreadinginto and damaging nearby areas of the brain. Some tumours may spread to otherparts of the brain or the spinal cord. They very rarely spread to other partsof the body.
Malignant brain tumours are more likely to come back aftertreatment. Almost half (46%) of brain tumours in the UK each year arediagnosed in people aged 65 and over. Causes of BrainTumours:The risk of getting a brain tumour increases with age,although some types of brain tumour are more common in children People with HIV or AIDS have around double the risk ofbeing diagnosed with a brain tumour compared to the general population. Thismay be related to lowered immunity.Children who’ve had cancerhave a higher risk of getting a brain tumour in later life; adults who’ve hadleukaemia or non-Hodgkinlymphoma also have an increased risk.Exposure to radiation accountsfor a very small number of brain tumours; some types of brain tumour aremore common in people who’ve had radiotherapy, CT scansor X-raysto the head . Symptoms:Headaches are common but usually not the only symptom.
Ifa brain tumour causes increased pressure in the skull, headaches, sickness andvomiting may be persistent. Some people have seizures (fits) or changes inpersonality, behaviour and thinking. Other symptoms depend on the position ofthe tumour and how it affects that area of the brain.
Sometimes a tumour canchange hormone levels. This can cause symptoms such as irregular periods,infertility, weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes or mood swings. Treatments:A craniotomy is the most common type of operation for abrain tumour. The surgeon cuts out an area of bone from your skull. This givesan opening so that the surgeon can operate on the brain itself.Neuroendoscopes allow the surgeons to carry out brainsurgery through a very small opening in the skull. The surgeon can see what isat the tip of the endoscope either through the eyepiece or on a TV screen.
There are tiny forceps and scissors at the end of the endoscope. The surgeonuses these to cut away the tumour. Chemotherapy can work well for most types of braintumour.
But it can be difficult to treat some brain tumours withchemotherapy drugs because the brain is protected by the blood brain barrier.This is a natural filter and only lets certain substances through from theblood to the brain tissues. Radiotherapymight be your main treatment if you have a brain tumour that your surgeoncannot remove. Or you may have radiotherapy after surgery to:· treatany tumour that your surgeon couldn’t remove· try tolower the risk of the brain tumour coming back in the future Steroids areused in a number of ways in cancer treatment.
They are used to treat the canceritself and/or reduce inflammation. Steroids can be used as part of acancer treatment when the patient is first diagnosed, and before and afterradiotherapy.