Bone Cancer – Signs, Types, Diagnosis & Treatment

Bone Cancer - Signs, Types, Diagnosis & Treatment

What Is Bone Cancer?

Bone cancer is the malignant growth of bone tissue that can originate (start) in the bone or from another tissue or organ in the body and spread to the bone. Most cases of cancer of the bone is usually a spread from the cancer of another organ.

What are the different types of bone cancer?

Bone Cancer is classified according to where cancer originates from:

Primary Bone cancer types

Primary Bone cancer is the type of bone cancer that originates in the bone or from bone tissue. Most common bone originated cancers are:

  1. Osteosarcoma (osteogenic sarcoma): is an aggressive malignant cancer that arises from primitive cells of mesenchymal origin. It is usually located in the upper arms and thigh bone. Osteosarcoma is more frequent in those above 60 years old.
  2. Chondrosarcoma: is cancer composed of cells derived from transformed cells that produce cartilage. Chondrosarcoma is commonly found in the shoulder, hips, and upper leg region. It is more common in adults of 40years and above.
  3. Fibrosarcoma: is a malignant mesenchymal tumor that is derived from fibrous connective tissue. 
  4. Ewing’s sarcoma: is a malignancy of bone and soft tissues. It is usually found in the arms, backbone, or pelvic bones. Ewing’s sarcoma is common in children (mostly males) and those under 19 years of age.

Secondary Bone cancer types

Secondary Bone cancer is a bone cancer that occurs as a result of the spread of malignant cells from another organ to the bones. 

The most common cancer that metastasizes to the bones are:

What Are the Symptoms of Bone Cancer?

Bone cancer is usually quite rare. It makes up less than 1% of all cancer. Malignancy can occur in any bone in the body, but it is most common in the pelvic bones and long bones in the legs and arms. Symptoms may be absent in some cases, but when it is present, the most common manifestations are:

  • Bone pain that gradually increases over months or years.
  • Swelling at the site where cancer is located
  • Unexplained fever
  • Soft bones
  • Bone fractures
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss

It is vital to see a doctor if a specific pain in certain locations lasts a long time for proper diagnosis.

Risk Factors Of Bone Cancer:

  • Genetics (family history of bone cancer)
  • Metal implants
  • Bone defects
  • Previous Chemotherapy
  • Previous radiation therapy

How is bone cancer diagnosed?

The most common investigative methods used to diagnosed bone cancer are:

  • Blood analysis
  • X-ray of bone
  • CT scan of the bone
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Biopsy of bone tissue

Treatment Of Bone Cancer:

Bone cancer management is based on the type of cancer, stage of cancer, and location of cancer. Certain management options may work for one type of cancer and not work for another, for example:

  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are very effective in treating Ewing’s sarcoma but not effective for Chondrosarcoma.
  • Surgery is the treatment of choice when cancer has gotten to stage 2A and 2B (where cancer has spread to surrounding tissues). 

The usual combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy has been known to be effective in treating severe stages of bone cancer. 


Surgery Is an effective treatment option for some bone cancers. The different kinds of surgery that can be done are:

  • Limb amputation. 
  • Limb sparing surgery: where the limb is spared from amputation and the affected bone is removed from the limb and replaced with a bone taken from somewhere else (bone graft), or an artificial bone is used to replace the bone removed.
  • Rotationplasty. 


  • Non-hormonal bisphosphonates.
  • Metastron (strontium-89 chloride)

For more information about bone cancer, you should talk to your physician.