Primary malignant bone tumors refer to a group of cancers of the bone, which arise primarily in bone tissue. Multiple myeloma, which is the most common bone tumor, usually occurs in the bone marrow and causes sharply circumscribed, demineralized bone lesions. Multiple myeloma occurs mostly in adults. A single myeloma lesion is called a plasmacytoma. Osteosarcoma is a highly malignant bone tumor; usually occurring among people aged 10 to 25, and is the second most common bone tumor. This usually arises in long bones and produce tumor bone cells, with pain and swelling being the main symptoms. Fibrosarcoma is similar to osteosarcoma, but produces fibrous tumor cells. Malignant fibrous histiocytoma is also similar to osteosarcoma, but there is no tumor bone production. It tends to occur more in children and teenagers.
Chondrosarcomas are malignant tumors of cartilage, usually developing in flat bones like the pelvis and shoulder blade. X-rays often reveal punctuate calcifications. These tend to occur in older adults. Ewing’s sarcoma of bone is a round-cell bone tumor usually occurring in the extremities and growing extensively. It is most often seen among people aged 10 to 25 years. Lymphoma of bone consists of small round cells and usually affects adults in their 40s and 50s. Pathological fractures are common in this condition. Giant cell tumors are rare and are usually located at the extreme end of the long bone. Chordoma, another rare bone tumor, usually tends to occur at the ends of the spinal column or near the base of the skull.
Treatment for all the above bone tumors usually consists of a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Because of their individual characteristics, different bone tumors respond differently to these treatments, with different prognosis for each of the above mentioned conditions. Ayurvedic treatment can be given as additional treatment in order to improve therapeutic results, minimize side effects of modern treatment and improve the overall survival rate.
Ayurvedic medicines like Pancha-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Trayo-Dashang-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Arogya-Vardhini, Kanchnaar-Guggulu, Pancha-Tikta-Ghrut and Laxadi-Guggulu are used to treat bone tumors. In addition, medicines like Shankh-Bhasma, Praval-Panchamrut-Bhasma, Godanti-Bhasma, Shrung-Bhasma and Asthishrunkhala (Vitis quadrangularis) are used to strengthen bone tissue. Medicines which act on the ‘Majja’ dhatu (tissue) are useful in all bone tumors. These include Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) and Musta (Cyperus rotundus).
A special course of medicated enema called ‘Ksheer-Basti’ is given and is very useful in all bone tumors. Medicines like Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Patol (Trichosanthe dioica), Kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpum), Guduchi and Vasa (Adhatoda vasaka) are boiled with milk and water; Pancha-Tikta-Ghrut is added to this medicated milk, and the entire warm mixture is pushed into the rectum as an enema or given as a slow drip. This procedure is believed to act directly on the bone and bone marrow.
Ayurvedic treatment has to be given for prolonged periods in order to be effective in malignant bone tumors. Treatment may also need to be repeated in case of recurrence or spread of the disease to other sites of the body. All such patients need to be under the regular supervision and care of an Oncology team.