Bone cancer is a rare cancer that forms in the cells of bones. Cancer that begins in the bone (known as primary bone cancer) is not the same disease as cancer that starts in another part of the body and spreads (or metastasizes) to the bone (called secondary bone cancer).
The National Cancer Institute confirms that primary bone cancer is rare, accounting for only about 2,400 new cases per year in the United States. More commonly, bones are the site of tumors that spread to the bone from another part of the body (bone metastases), such as the breasts, lungs, and prostate.
Types of Bone Cancer
A cancer of the bone (or soft tissue) is called a sarcoma. Primary bone cancers are sarcomas of the bone. Some common types of primary bone cancers are osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, and Ewing’s sarcoma.
- Osteosarcoma develops in growing bone tissue. It is most often found in children, adolescents and young adults between the ages of 10-25. In children, it occurs most commonly in the bones around the knee, as well as in the upper arms.
- Chondrosarcoma develops in cartilage (generally in the pelvis, upper legs, and shoulders) and occurs more often in adults over 50 years of age.
- Ewing's sarcoma develops in immature bone marrow tissue. Like osteosarcoma, it occurs more commonly in children, adolescents and young adults between the ages of 10-25.