Bone cancer is caused by malignant (cancerous) tumors that attack healthy bone tissue. Not all bone tumors are malignant, as benign (noncancerous) tumors are most common. Bones are made up of different tissues including osteoid (hard), cartilaginous (tough and flexible) and fibrous (threadlike). Bone cancer can affect any of these tissues. The three most common types of bone cancer are osteosarcoma (affects osteoid tissue), chondrosarcoma (affects cartilaginous tissue) and The Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors (ESFTs). ESFTs can affect soft tissues as well as bones, but are most frequently found along the backbone, the pelvis and in the legs and arms. The main symptom of bone cancer is pain, but another symptom may include persistent swelling near affected area. Treatment for bone cancer typically includes surgery to remove tumors, chemotherapy and radiation to kill cancer cells and cryosurgery to freeze then kill cancer cells.
Organizations exist to provide resource and support to individuals and families with cancer in their lives.