May 22, 2007

Pathology Tuesday - Now with video!

I was pondering what to do for Pathology Tuesday at work today. My plan was to phone it in and do spina bifida. But just before lunch, whilst unpacking a new set of remains, I found it. Apparently the universe knows what today is and plopped a middle-aged man with cancer on my lab table.

This kind of bone lesion is not exactly confined to two dimensions, which makes it extremely difficult to photograph. Although I did take a bunch of still photos, I also decided to take a movie so that more of the three dimensionality of the lesion could come across. You can click below to see the movie and scroll down to read more about it.



As far as I can tell, this is an example of a chondrosarcoma in the proximal aspect (top part) of the tibia, near the knee joint. A chondrosarcoma is a type of malignant bone lesion that tends to affect the ends of long bones such as the femur and tibia. In mature forms, or after an individual has had the lesion for a few years, the lesion basically becomes bone and ossifies.

But I still don't know how this individual, a middle-aged male, got this malignant cancer. Besides that, I'm only 75% sure that this lesion is indeed a chondrosarcoma, as they're very rare in archaeological populations. This individual is quite fragmentary, and the excavators did not even note in the osteological field report that this individual had anything wrong with him. Who knows, the lesion could be some weird kind of infection, but it looks like cancer to me.

2 comments:

Lara said...

Dude, that's wicked cool. Tumor, cancer, whatever it is.

Trey said...

That tibial plateau looks f'ed up the wazoo. Awesome feature.

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