Some kinds of bone cancer can develop in a person’s ribs. However, these bone cancer types are extremely rare.
Cancer that forms in a person’s bones is called primary bone cancer (PBC). Another name for PBC is osteogenic sarcoma.
Cancer can also spread to a person’s bones after developing in a different part of their body. This kind of cancer is called secondary bone cancer (SBC), or bone metastasis.
This article discusses the types of primary bone cancer that can develop in a person’s ribs. It also discusses the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of primary bone cancer.
There are many kinds of PBC, some of which can start in a person’s ribs.
Osteosarcomas can develop in any bone. However, osteosarcomas in a person’s rib bones are very rare.
In an older 2010 case study, published in the Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology, scientists described an osteosarcoma in a 42-year-old adult’s rib. They noted that only
A study in the Turkish Archives of Pediatrics also investigated a similar rib osteosarcoma case. The researchers noted that osteosarcomas involved ribs in
They can develop in a person’s bones or the tissues or cartilage around them. Most chondrosarcomas develop in a person’s shoulders, pelvis, and hips, but they can also develop in their ribs.
Ewing sarcomas, or Ewing tumors, are the third most
People can develop Ewing sarcoma anywhere on their body. One of the most common areas for a person to develop it is in their ribs.
Bone cancer can develop in any bone, but most cases develop in a person’s:
- longer leg bones
- upper arm bones
Ewing sarcoma often develops in the bones of a person’s:
- shoulder blades
Chondrosarcomas develop in a person’s cartilage or in the bones of their:
- voice box
- chest wall
- shoulder blades
- They have had radiotherapy.
- They have a condition called Paget’s disease, although this is a very small risk factor for bone cancer.
- They have rare genetic conditions, such as:
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Werner syndrome
- Rothmund-Thomson syndrome
Other symptoms can include:
- swelling and redness over one of their bones
- a noticeable lump over a bone
- a bone that fractures more easily than normal
- a limp or difficulty moving around
If a person or someone they know has persistent, severe, or worsening bone pain, they should seek medical attention. Medical professionals will be able to diagnose the cause of their bone pain, which may be bone cancer.
To diagnose a person’s PBC, doctors first ask questions about their medical history. They then perform a physical examination of the person.
To confirm PBC, doctors then use other tests,
- tissue biopsies, where doctors examine a small tissue sample under a microscope
- blood tests
- scans, such as:
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- computed tomography (CT)
- whole-body bone scintigraphy
- positron emission tomography (PET)
Doctors use MRI scans to determine the extent of a person’s PBC tumors. They may use a CT scan if a person cannot have an MRI scan or the MRI scan does not provide a clear diagnosis.
Doctors will base a person’s treatment on a variety of factors, including a tumor’s:
- stage, or how far the tumor has progressed or spread
- grade, or how tumors look and behave
They also accommodate a person’s personal preference for types of treatment. Treatment options for PBC
- surgery to remove the section of cancerous bone
- chemotherapy, or treatment with powerful medication to destroy their tumor
- radiotherapy, or treatment with radiation to eliminate their tumor
- medication called mifamurtide, in some cases of osteosarcoma
Doctors typically use surgery to remove PBC tumors. Then, they often reconstruct or replace the removed bone. However, doctors may need to amputate the affected limb section.
Primary bone cancer can develop in a person’s ribs. Although there are many types of PBC, PBC that develops in a person’s ribs is very rare. People who develop PBC normally have surgery to remove the affected areas of their bones.
Additional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, depend on individual circumstances. The doctor will create an individualized treatment plan in order to deliver the best possible outcomes.
The main symptom of PBC is bone pain. If a person has persistent or worsening bone pain, they should seek professional medical attention for diagnosis and treatment.