Bone cancer is a growth that destroys normal bone tissue. It can also spread beyond the bone. It may be:
- Primary bone cancer—starts in bone tissue
- Secondary or metastatic bone cancer—cancer starts somewhere else and travels to the bone
Other types of bone cancer are:
- Osteosarcoma—a tumor of the bone, usually of the arms, legs, or pelvis
- Chondrosarcoma—begins in the cartilage
- Ewing sarcoma—tumors that usually begin in the leg and arm bones
- Fibrosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma—forms in soft tissues and moves to the bones of the legs, arms, and jaw
- Giant cell tumor—a primary bone tumor, most common in the arm or leg bones
- Chordoma—a primary bone tumor that is usually in the skull or spine
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Signs of cancer can be found with:
- Blood tests—to look for abnormal bone activity
- Biopsy—a sample of cells is taken and tested
Images can show where the tumor is and how large it may be. They can also show if a cancer has spread. Tests may include:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Bone scan
Test results will be used for staging. This will outline how far and fast the cancer has spread.
Treatment depends on the type, stage, and site of the cancer. It also depends on a person's overall health. Options may be:
- Surgery to remove:
- The cancer and tissue in the area
- Some nearby lymph nodes
- Bone or an entire limb—if other options cannot remove the cancer
- Bone grafts and metal plates—to support the bone after cancer is removed
- Chemotherapy , given by pills, injection or IV— to kill the cancer cells
- Radiation—to kill or shrink cancer cells
- Stem cell support—to regrow the bone marrow, if needed
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Osteosarcoma; Chondrosarcoma; Fibrosarcoma; Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma; Primary Lymphoma of Bone; Giant Cell Tumor; Chordoma)
American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org
National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca
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Osteosarcoma in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/osteosarcoma-in-children. Accessed March 17, 2021.