Bone marrow cancer most commonly occurs in the shafts of long bones. Although the first signs of bone marrow cancer varies from patient to patient, symptoms may include fever, fatigue, poor appetite, and weight loss. However, the early symptoms may be so sporadic and subtle, the patient may not see a doctor until the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
In the past, when people were diagnosed with bone marrow cancer, the treatment typically involved the removal of the cancerous marrow through extensive surgery. However, a combination of high does of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and conservative surgery is now being used. Generally, during the surgery, the healthy bone marrow is removed through two very small incisions in the back of the hip (or from the iliac crest) while the patient is under anesthesia. The bone marrow is processed and stored in a freezer. While this is being done, the patient will receive chemotherapy and radiation. Usually one or two days later, they will then receive their own marrow back.