Dr. Templeton describes how bone tumors are diagnosed.
Bone tumors are diagnosed after patients present either with pain, especially if it’s an active tumor. Bone cancers will hurt because they are active. Occasionally you will have an active tumor in a bone that’s not a cancer but will still hurt, so patients will come in with pain. Sometimes, though, patients come in without pain and just notice that they have a lump or bump that actually hasn’t changed in years, but they have kind of wondered what it was and they weren’t sure what was going on.
So, after patients present, either with pain or a lump or bump, we examine them in the office, and then after that, get x-rays, sometimes additional testing such as CAT scan or MRI to get a better idea of what this is.
If it’s something that just by looking at the x-rays, you know exactly what this is, it may not need a biopsy. It may just be something that needs reassurance, potentially another set of x-rays in a few months to make sure that it’s not changing.
If the diagnosis is not clear from the x-rays or there’s a concern that it’s a cancer, that’s when we usually start looking at doing a biopsy to actually be able to look at what’s inside the bone under the microscope and get a better idea of what’s going on.
About Dr. Kim Templeton, M.D.:
Kim Templeton, M.D., received her degree from the University of Missouri School of Medicine with a specialty in orthopedics and musculoskeletal oncology and began her career with an orthopedic residency at Chicago's Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center.
She then accepted a Musculoskeletal Oncology Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. In 1995, she came to the KU School of Medicine, where her commitment to excellence and orthopedic education has opened the way to positions of leadership. She is now the Director of the Orthopedic Residency Education Program at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, holds the first Joy McCann Professorship for Women in Medicine and Science, and currently serves as president of the KU Medical Center's Women in Medicine and Science program.