Renowned Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. H. Freeman Lockhart addressed Rotarians on the topic Bone Cancer Symptoms and Treatment at the Rotary Club of Freeport weekly meeting this past Thursday, February 1 at Ruby Swiss Restaurant.
Dispelling myths and misconceptions regarding bone cancer, Dr. Lockhart, who owns a private clinic, The Orthopedic Center located in the Medical Pavilion, East Sunrise Highway and travels to Marsh Harbour, Abaco monthly explained that contrary to popular belief there are two types of bone cancer primary and secondary.
“Truth be told, many people within the community are unaware of the fact that bone cancer is a primary cancer, as knowledge of it presents after a patient would have been diagnosed with breast, cervical or prostate cancer (also primary cancer types) that has metastasized (spread) to bones.
“Primary Bone Cancers such as Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma and Ewing’s Sarcoma originate in the bone whereas, Metastatic Bone Cancer originated elsewhere in the body and has spread to the bone of the patient combating the disease.
“In any community and The Bahamas is no exception, bone cancer represents less than one percent of the overall cancer types identified annually; in light of this fact, persons tend to question why would a discussion on this illness need to occur with the numbers being so low.
“Well, the presentation of bone cancer in the metastatic form makes it something that we all need to be aware of, educated about and look out for especially as Metastatic Bone Cancer is representative of late stage cancer, which certainly is not the time anyone wants to be presenting with the disease,” Dr. Lockhart declared.
Residing in Grand Bahama for the past decade, the orthopedic surgeon noted he has only seen approximately four primary bone cancer patients, however as orthopedics is his field of expertise many of his patients see him for bone, joint, tendon and ligament related issues inclusive of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Informing Rotarians that while there is no clear cut screening to be had to detect bone cancer, Dr. Lockhart shared that as a parent, spouse or caregiver it is imperative that he or she pay close attention to the complaint of an individual, who has a dull, persistent ache in the spine, pelvis or limbs, which rouses him or her from enjoying a good night’s rest to have it checked out immediately, as it may be an indication that something is wrong.
“Oftentimes the pain persists and the individual experiencing the discomfort particularly in the spine, pelvis or limbs tends to ignore it, however not seeking proper medical advice does more harm than good.
“Most times bone cancers tend to present as a simple nagging pain accompanied with swelling and while it may not be a severe pain that brings you into to see a physician, yet it is constant, for that reason alone one should have it checked out.
“Bone Cancer is more prevalent in children, hence parents are advised to look seriously into any complaints presented by their children of consistent pain and swelling in their limbs specifically in the leg, thigh or shoulder, as these are the areas that primary bone cancer develops.
“Osteosarcoma occurs in children in their pre-teen years and if it is caught early enough then, surgery and chemotherapy can help to save that child’s life.
“Chondrosarcoma and Ewing’s Sarcoma occurs in adults and children, respectively and it is important not to take one’s bone, spine, pelvis, joints, tendons, ligaments and limbs health for granted,” Dr. Lockhart advised.
Priority one for any person is to take their health seriously ensuring that they visit their physician annually for regular health-checks and Dr. Lockhart also advised Rotarians and guests to pay attention to the signs and changes that occur in their body which serves as advance notice that proper care must be paid to an issue that they may be able to shake off but nevertheless, one that they should not ignore.
Furthermore, he highlighted late Canadian Marathoner Terry Fox (1958-1981), who had Femur Cancer and through his persistence and athleticism helped to raise bone cancer awareness and education before his death, to save lives.
Annually, the Terry Fox Marathon for Bone Cancer raises millions of dollars to aid bone cancer research from variant diagnosis to treatment which has advanced within the past several decades; hopeful that the discussion had at the Rotary Club of Freeport assisted in making the public more knowledgeable about bone cancer as well as taking one’s health seriously, Dr. Lockhart encouraged Rotarians and guests to read up on Terry Fox, visit the Cancer Society for Grand Bahama and ensure that they visit their physicians to have proper health screenings conducted as it can assist in saving a life.
Elsie Knowles, Rotary Club of Freeport thanked Dr. Lockhart for the valuable information provided on Bone Cancer Symptoms and Treatments and encouraged all to adhere to the advice shared.