Bone Cancer

Your bones perform a number of essential functions. They support and protect your internal organs. They act as levers and braces for your muscles to help you move. They also produce and store blood cells in the bone marrow.

Cancer that arises in the bone is called primary bone cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) says primary bone cancer is rare, with approximately 2,500 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States.

Primary bone cancer is not the same disease as cancer that spreads or metastasizes to the bone from another part of the body, such as the breast, lungs or prostate. When this happens, it's called secondary bone cancer.

Some of the more common forms of primary bone cancer include:

  • Osteosarcoma
  • Chondrosarcoma
  • Ewing's sarcoma

Although scientists are not certain what causes bone cancer, a number of factors may put a person at increased risk. For example, these cancers occur more frequently in children and young adults, particularly those who have had radiation or chemotherapy treatments for other conditions.