What Is Bone Cancer?

Bone cancer is continuous, chaotic cell growth in a bone that eventually forms a solid mass, or tumor. These cancer cells can metastasize (spread) to any other part of the body. Primary bone cancer, meaning it originates in the bones, is rare and accounts for less than one percent of all new cancers. More commonly, cancer spreads to the bones from another part of the body, such as the lungs, breasts or prostate.

Different types of bone cancer include:

  • Osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma: These are two of the most common types of bone cancer. They generally occur in children and young adults.
  • Chondrosarcoma: This cancer of the cartilage is more common in adults.
  • Chordoma: This is a type of bone cancer that typically starts in the lower spinal cord.
  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) and fibrosarcoma: These are rare, soft-tissue sarcomas that begin in the bone. MFH makes up less than one percent of primary bone tumors, which is usually found in adults. It usually appears in the arms and legs, especially around the knee joint. Fibrosarcoma most often begins in the thighbone. It's also more common among adults, particularly during middle age.
  • Paget's disease of the bone: This cancer generally occurs in older adults and involves the overgrowth of bony tissue.
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