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Jaw Bone Cancer

Jaw Bone Cancer

Jawbone cancer is one of the uncommon medical issues that doctors come across. This article helps you understand some of the basic aspects of this rare medical condition.
Rajib Singha
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2018
Bone cancer is an uncommon condition. To add to this, in most people, the long bones of the arms and legs happen to the common places that are affected. So this means that jawbone cancer is a rarer occurrence. As you read further, you would understand about the causes of this disease, its symptoms, and treatment plan.
What Causes Jawbone Cancer?
Most types of cancer, although may be different in their nature of occurrence, the part of the body they affect, their symptoms, and the like, one aspect that they share in common is their origin, which is unspecified. Meaning, most cancers are idiopathic in nature, with no known cause that can the studied. The same goes with jawbone cancer. But what experts are certain of is the fact that, some kind of error in the DNA of the bone cells trigger them to grow and live longer than they are supposed to. These abnormal cells, unlike the normal ones, grow rapidly and divide in an uncontrollable fashion. This results in the formation of a tumor from the accumulation of the abnormal cells. And with time, this tumor starts invading nearby structures and can also metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body.
Basically, there are three types of bone cancer, which include the cancer of the jawbone too. The first one is known to begin in the cells of the bone, and is common in children and young adults. It is known as osteosarcoma. The second one is known as chondrosarcoma, and it is usually detected to be affecting the end of the bones. Older adults are more vulnerable to contract this condition. And the last one is known as Ewing's sarcoma, and is common in children and young adults. Doctors are still dubious on the origin of this type, but assume that the nerve tissue within the bone may be the problem area.
How to Detect the Onset of the Cancer?
Initially, the symptoms may not be so troublesome, but they tend to worsen with time. An early symptom that might indicate cancer of the jawbone is a pain in the affected area, which may be followed or accompanied by swelling and tenderness. A lump may be felt either on the bone or the surrounding areas. The person may become too vulnerable to develop fractures, due to the weakening of the bones. Fatigue and unintended weight loss are the other symptoms that may occur.
What Treatment Options are Put in Place?
The nature of treatment is driven by the type of the cancer, the age of the patient, the stage of the condition that he/she is in, and personal preferences. Surgical procedure to get rid of the tumor is a typical process to deal with the disease. Depending upon the location of the cancer, the doctors may proceed with removing the entire diseased area, or a part of it. For people whose cancer has not affected the surrounding tissues, only the bone may be removed. Other procedures include radiation therapy, that uses high-powdered energy beams to kill the cancerous cells, and chemotherapy that uses the help of chemicals for the same purpose. Usually, chemotherapy is a first option to go for before conducting any surgery. This method helps in shrinking the cancer so that it can be easily accessible for its removal during a surgery.
Jawbone cancer can be debilitating on the body as well as the on mind of the ailing. The sooner it gets diagnosed, the brighter the prognosis becomes. Keeping oneself updated about latest developments in the treatment of the condition, and joining a support group of people suffering from the same disease, helps in making things easier. And above all, seeking love and support from family and friends provide a great deal of courage and help.