- Primary bone cancer starts in the cells of the bone.
- Secondary bone cancer. This cancer starts in another organ of your body but has spread to the bones. This cancer behaves like the original cancer that it spread from and not like bone cancer.
- Osteosarcoma. This is the most common type of bone cancer. Children and young people between the ages of 10 and 20 are more commonly affected, but it can occur at any age. It is slightly more common in males than females.
- Ewing's sarcoma. This cancer also tends to develop between the ages of 10 and 20. Like osteosarcoma, it is slightly more common among males than females. This cancer can also occur in soft tissues in the body such as muscle.
- Chondrosarcoma. This is the second most common type of bone cancer. It is more common in adults between the ages of 40 and 60. It starts in the cartilage cells in joints.
- Spindle cell sarcoma. There are four types of bone cancer: undifferentiated sarcoma of the bone, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, fibrosarcoma and leiomyosarcoma. They all behave like osteosarcoma but are more common in adults.
- Previous treatment with radiotherapy. If you have had a lot of radiotherapy for cancer in the past, you have a slightly increased risk of getting bone cancer in that area.
- Paget's disease. This bone disease gradually deforms your bones, causing pain and fractures. Having Paget's disease for a long time increases your risk of developing bone cancer.
- Having a previous benign bone tumour. If you have had a benign (non-spreading) type of bone cancer, you are more likely to develop chondrosarcoma.
- Retinoblastoma. Inheriting the gene that causes this rare type of eye cancer also makes you more likely to develop osteosarcoma.
- Having certain other rare inherited conditions, such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, can increase your risk of developing bone cancer.
- Osteosarcoma is most common in the lower thigh, shins and arms.
- Ewing's sarcoma most commonly occurs in the pelvis, thigh and shins.
- Chondrosarcoma is most common in the thigh, pelvis, ribs, upper arm and shoulder bone.
- Spindle cell sarcoma most commonly develops in the lower thigh, shins and arms.
- weight loss
The type of surgery you have depends on how far the cancer has spread.
- Limb salvage surgery involves removing the area of bone where the tumour is. Because of the recent advances in surgery, this method of treating bone cancer is becoming more common. The area of bone removed is replaced with either a metal prosthesis (an artificial replacement part) or a piece of healthy bone taken from another part of your body (a bone graft).
- Despite ongoing improvements in surgical technique, sometimes a limb salvaging operation isn't possible. If the cancer has spread into surrounding tissues, amputating the limb may be the only way to get rid of the cancer. Support from the medical staff looking after you can help you come to terms with this news. Advances in prosthetics (artificial limbs) mean that you can often have a fully active life after this surgery. A specialist in artificial limbs will visit you at hospital to arrange one for you. A physiotherapist will be able to teach you how to adapt to and best use it.
This information was published by Bupa Group's Health Content Team and has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals. To the best of their knowledge the information is current and based on reputable sources of medical evidence, however Bupa (Asia) Limited makes no representation or warranty as to the completeness or accuracy of the Content.
The information on this page, and any information on third party websites referred to on this page, is provided as a guide only. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Bupa (Asia) Limited is not liable for any loss or damage you suffer arising out of the use of, or reliance on, the information.
Third party websites are not owned or controlled by Bupa and any individual may be able to access and post messages on them. Bupa is not responsible for the content or availability of these third party websites. Last updated August 2017.
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