How common is Bone Cancer?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 19, 2013
Quick Bites

  • Bone cancer can begin in any bone of the body.
  • It commonly affects the long bones of the arms and legs.
  • The primary bone cancer starts in the bone.
  • Primary bone cancer accounts for the less than 1 percent of all cancers.

Bone cancer is a type of cancer which can begin in any bone of the body. It commonly affects the long bones of the arms and legs.  Bones support the framework of the body. The bone cancer can be primary or secondary. The primary bone cancer starts in the bone while the secondary bone cancer starts elsewhere in the body and reaches to the bone. The example of primary bone cancer include setorsarcome, Ewing sarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, and chondrosarcoma while breast cancer which spreads to the bone is an example of secondary bone cancer.

bone cancer

Some Common Types of Primary Bone Cancer Include:

  • Osteosarcoma : It is begin from the osteoid tissue of the bone. It commonly occur in the knees and upper arms.
  • Chondrosarcoma :It starts in the cartilaginous tissue of the bone. Cartilage provides padding to the ends to the bones and lines of the joints. It commonly affects the pelvis, upper leg, and shoulder. It is classifies as an osteosarcoma, when a chondrosarcoma has cancerous bone cells.
  • The Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors:

It commonly occurs in the bone but may also affect the soft tissues such as muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels or any other supporting tissue. It mostly occurs along the backbone, pelvis and in the legs and arms.

Bone cancer

How Common is Bone Cancer?

Primary bone cancer is rare and it accounts for the less than 1 percent of all cancers. But different types of bone cancer are more likely to affect certain populations:

Osteosarcoma commonly affect people of ages between 10 and 19.  People above the age of 40 who have other medical conditions such as Paget disease, have higher chances of developing this type of cancer. While chondrosarcoma is common in older people. The risk further increases with the age. The condition rarely develops in children and adolescents. And Ewing sarcoma family of tumors which is the third most common primary bone cancer, commonly occur in children and adolescents under 19 years of age. It is more common in boys as compared to girls.

Other Cancers That Develop In Bones

Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas: This type of cancer usually develops in the lymph nodes but it can begin in other bone too. It is a widespread disease as multiple sites in the body are usually involved. Another cancer which develops in the bones is multiple myelomas. It always develops in the bones but it is not considered as a primary bone cancer. It can cause destruction in the bones.


Image Courtesy: Getty

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