Musculoskeletal oncology is a sub-specialty of orthopedic oncology, and it involves the diagnosis of bone cancer, diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant tumors, as well as other pathologically abnormal lesions of the musculoskeletal system in adults and children. Bone and soft tissue tumors comprise of around 0.2% of all tumors and are relatively rare. The most common tumors in this subset are osteosarcoma (OGS), chondrosarcoma, and Ewing sarcoma.
Cancer from one organ/region of the body may spread (metastasis) to other body parts through the blood or lymphatic circulation and can involve the skeletal system (bones and muscles). This is usually seen in cases of advanced or stage IV breast cancer, lung cancer, etc. Metastatic tumors involving the bone result in pathological fractures, pain, and high than normal levels of calcium in the blood. This stage requires orthopedic intervention with regards to the management of the orthopedic conditions happened either due to tumor metastasis and/or orthopedic tumor to provide a better recovery and treatment outcome to the patient. Previously, these cancer related-orthopedic conditions were less often treated and operated apart from the amputation of that body part. But with the advancement of oncology and medical science, there are many advanced options available for the management of cancer-related orthopedic conditions, including benign, malignant and metastatic diseases of the musculoskeletal system.
The orthopedic oncologist or orthopedic cancer specialist along with the medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, radiologist, and pathologist together create an individualized treatment plan for cancer treatment while ensuring better clinical outcomes and good quality of life for patients.