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Bone Cancer is never an easy diagnosis to cope with, and bone cancer in the elderly can be even more difficult. Seniors who are afflicted with cancer often have very different concerns and priorities than young adults. In many cases, their principal concern is losing independence and having to rely on others to perform the activities of daily life, like cooking, eating, and maintaining hygiene. This dependency can make feelings of isolation worsen into depression and anxiety, which can make treatment more difficult.
The prognosis for primary bone cancer (bone cancer that originates in the bone as opposed to a cancer that metastasizes to the bone) in the elderly depends on the location of the cancer and its stage of development. More than 95% of patients with stage one primary bone cancer survive more than five years, and many are cured. Once in stage two, the rate of survival ranges from 40-60%, depending on the patient.
According to the American Cancer Society, the most common symptom of primary bone cancer is pain. This pain is the result of cancer cells expanding inside bone tissue and applying pressure to nerves inside the bones, which can gradually expose nerves, and lead to more pain. Other symptoms include unintended weight loss, fatigue, tenderness, and swelling. Although it’s often very hard to predict outcomes, there are several ways to tackle the management of cancer and maintain a high quality of life during every stage of treatment.