Friday, July 14, 2023

How does radiation therapy or chemotherapy increase the risk of primary bone cancer?

 Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are common treatments for cancer. While they can be effective in treating cancer, they can also increase the risk of developing primary bone cancer. 

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to kill cancer cells. It can cause damage to normal cells, including bone cells, which can lead to an increased risk of developing bone cancer[2][9]. The risk is higher in people who were treated when they were younger, especially as children, and those who were treated with higher doses of radiation. These cancers tend to develop many years, often decades, after the radiation therapy was given[2].

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer. Some chemotherapy drugs, such as alkylating agents, are linked with an increased risk of developing osteosarcoma[3][8]. Chemotherapy can also lead to significant bone loss, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures[4][12].

It's important to note that having radiation therapy or chemotherapy for cancer does not mean that a person will definitely develop bone cancer. Most people who receive radiation therapy or chemotherapy don't develop bone cancer[2][5]. 

If you're concerned about your risk of developing bone cancer due to previous radiation therapy or chemotherapy, it's always best to talk to your doctor. They can provide more information about your individual risk and recommend any necessary screening or monitoring. 


1. University of Rochester Medical Center. Primary bone cancer: risk factors. Retrieved from

2. American Cancer Society. Risk Factors for Bone Cancer. Retrieved from

3. Cancer Research UK. Risks and causes | bone cancer Retrieved from

4.PMC. Chemotherapy- and Irradiation-Induced Bone Loss in Adults with Solid Tumors. Retrieved from

5. Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Bone Cancer Causes & Risk Factors: Is it Hereditary? Retrieved from

6. National Cancer Institute. Primary Bone Cancer. Retrieved from

7. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Bone Cancer Risk Factors. Retrieved from

8. Cancer.Net. Bone Cancer (Sarcoma of Bone): Risk Factors. Retrieved from

9. NCBI Bookshelf. The Science Behind Radiation Therapy How does radiation work to treat cancer? Retrieved from































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