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Bone Cancer

  • The most common cause of bone cancer is metastatic spread, not primary bone cancer.  This occurs when other types of cancer, such as breast or Lung Cancer, spread to the bones. 
  • Primary bone cancer (i.e., cancer that begins in the bones themselves) is rare, but does occur.  Most, but not all primary bone cancers, tend to occur in younger individuals (i.e., 10 to 40 years old).  The tissue type (histology) of the bone cancer is the major factor in determining how aggressive the cancer is likely to be.

  • Mass in soft tissues
  • Bone deformity
  • Bone pain
  • Bone tenderness
  • Bone fracture from minor (or without) injuries

  • Metastatic Cancer (see Description above)
  • Race may play a role.  Asians and African-Americans have a lower risk of developing Ewing's sarcoma than Caucasians. 
  • Often occurs in those who have received previous chemotherapy or radiation therapy for other cancers.

  • Imaging
  • X-Rays
  • Bone Scan
  • Laboratory tests
  • Alkaline phosphatase is elevated

  • Surgery: 
  1. Surgical removal of the cancer with a wide excision 
  2. The use of amputation can be avoided in a majority of patients.
  • Chemotherapy agents: 
  1. Methotrexate with Leucovorin
  2. Doxorubucin
  3. Ifosfamide
  4. Etoposide
  5. Vincristine
  6. Cisplatin
  7. Bleomycin
  8. Cyclophosphamide
  9. Dactinomycin
  • Radiation Treatment

  • Seek immediate medical attention.  A delay in diagnosis and treatment could lead to a higher probability of more extensive surgeries such as amputation, and may be more difficult to cure.  Aggressive forms of this disease can lead to rapid death, so early diagnosis is important.

  • Metastatic Cancer
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Osteomyelitis

  • Specific Types of Bone Cancer

  1. Osteogenic sarcoma is from the osteoid (bone producing) cell line and is often found in the knee, upper legs, and upper arms.  They are often seen in children and adolescents.  This is the most common form of primary bone cancer. 
  2. Chondosarcoma is made up of cartilage, and affects individuals after age 50.  Common locations are the shoulders, pelvis, and the upper legs. 
  3. Fibrosarcoma is a fibrous tumor in young adults that is often found in the jaw, upper arm, or thighs.
  4. Ewing's sarcoma is made up of nerve cells (immature tissue) in the bone marrow. They are seen in individuals between ages 10-20, and found in the ribs, arms, pelvis, and upper legs.


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