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Bone Cancer

Bone Cancer Facts

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Bone cancer is a malignant tumor of the bone that destroys normal bone cells. Primary bone cancer is rare. The majority of people who have cancer in their bones develop this from a spread, also known as a metastasis, from another cancer from elsewhere in their body. Bone cancer refers to the cases in which the cancer starts in the bone cells and does not include cancers that have spread to the bones.

Bone cancer is most common in children and adolescents. It is less common in older adults. There are several different types of bone cancer, and they can occur in any of the bones.

Types of Bone Cancer

  • Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. It is most common in males between 10-25 years of age, but it can also occur in older adults. The most likely locations for developing osteosarcoma are in the long bones of the arms and legs near the growth regions of the knees and shoulders. This is often a very aggressive cancer, and it can spread (metastasize) to the lungs.
  • Ewing's sarcoma is the most aggressive bone tumor. It is more common in younger children between 4-15 years old. It is more common in boys and very rarely seen in those over 30 years of age. It is most commonly found in the middle portions of the long bones in the arms and legs. It can also spread to the lungs and other body tissues.
  • Chondrosarcoma is the second most common bone cancer. In contrast to the previously described tumors, chondrosarcoma develops from the cartilage cells, not from the bone cells themselves. The pelvis and the hip and shoulder bones are most commonly affected. It is most common in people over 40 years of age. It can also spread to the lungs and lymphatic system.
  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) is a cancer that does not affect the bone cells but does affect the soft tissues surrounding the bones, including the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fat cells. It is most common in people 50-60 years old. It is most common in the arms and legs, and is more common in males.
  • Fibrosarcoma is a rare soft tissue tumor that most commonly occurs around the knee. It usually affects people 35-55 years old and is more common in males.
  • Chordoma is a very rare tumor usually seen in people over 30 years old. It is most commonly found in either the lower or upper ends of the spinal column.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/16/2014

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