Bone tumor can begin in any bone in the body, but it most commonly affects the pelvis or the long bones in the arms and legs. Bone cancer is rare, making up less than 1 percent of all cancers. In fact, noncancerous bone tumors are much more common than cancerous ones.

The term "bone cancer" doesn't include cancers that begin elsewhere in the body and spread (metastasize) to the bone. Instead, those cancers are named for where they began, such as breast cancer that has metastasized to the bone.

Some types of bone cancer occur primarily in children, while others affect mostly adults. Surgical removal is the most common treatment, but chemotherapy and radiation therapy also may be utilized. The decision to use surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy is based on the type of bone cancer being treated.


  1. Multiple Myeloma (MM):

Multiple myeloma is the most common type of bone cancer. It occurs when cancer cells grow in the bone marrow and cause tumors in various bones. MM usually affects older adults. Among bone cancers, MM has one of the best prognoses, and many people who have it don’t require treatment.

  1. Osteosarcoma (Osteogenic Sarcoma):

Osteosarcoma, or osteogenic sarcoma, generally affects children and adolescents, but it can also occur in adults. It has a tendency to originate at the tips of the long bones in the arms and legs. Osteosarcoma may also start in the hips, shoulders, or other locations. It affects the hard tissue that provides the outer layer of your bones.

  1. Chondrosarcoma:

Chondrosarcoma may occur in the pelvis, thigh areas, and shoulders of older adults. It forms in the subchondral tissue, which is the tough connective tissue between your bones. This is the second most common primary cancer involving the bones.

  1. Ewing’s Sarcoma:

Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare cancer that either begins in the soft tissues surrounding the bones or directly in the bones of children and young adults. The long bones of the body, such as the arms and legs, and the pelvis are commonly affected.


The symptoms of bone cancer are:

  • pain and swelling in the affected bones
  • palpable hard mass in the long bones of the limbs
  • feeling tired or fatigued

Less common symptoms include:

  • easily broken bones
  • weight loss


  1. Stage 1: Bone cancer hasn’t spread from the bone.
  2. Stage 2: Bone cancer hasn’t spread but may become invasive, making it a threat to other tissue.
  3. Stage 3: Bone cancer has spread to one or more areas of the bone and is invasive.
  4. Stage 4: Bone cancer has spread to the tissues surrounding the bone and to other organs such as the lungs or brain.


Treatment depends on:

  1. the stage of cancer
  2. your age
  3. your overall health
  4. the size and location of the tumor

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Amalia Azzariti

Managing Editor

Journal of Clinical Oncology and Cancer Research.