Bone cancer is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that starts in the bone. There are several types of bone cancer, but the most common is called osteosarcoma. It usually affects patients under 30 but can occur at any age. Osteosarcoma can begin in any bone, but it is more often seen in the longer bones of the arms and legs, or the pelvic bones. Osteosarcoma normally is treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. There are other types of bone cancers, like chondrosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma. Other cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma start in the bone marrow but are referred to as blood cell cancers.
Other cancerous masses, known as soft tissue sarcomas, can develop in the soft tissue of the musculoskeletal system, which includes the muscles, joints, and tissues that connect the body together. There are many types of soft tissue sarcomas, but they are rare. They tend to occur in the arms, legs, chest, and abdomen but can develop in any area of the body. Soft tissue sarcomas are most common in patients age 30-70, though certain types can affect younger adults and even children. They usually are treated with a combination of surgery and radiation, and sometimes chemotherapy. Cancer that has spread (metastasized) from other parts of the body to the bone usually is treated with radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.
Tumors in the musculoskeletal system are much more likely to be benign (non-cancerous). Primary bone cancer, or cancer that begins within a bone, is rare. It is more common for a tumor to spread from another area of the body to the musculoskeletal system.
The Musculoskeletal Joint and Oncologic Surgery Clinic, operated by UAB Orthopaedics, uses a collaborative team approach to care for patients with cancer of the bones or soft tissue. Our compassionate and experienced physicians use the most advanced technology for diagnosing, evaluating, and treating patients. We work closely with our patients every step of the way to help them understand their case, make the most informed medical decisions, and ensure that they receive the most personalized care. Our clinic is part of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, which is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the best hospital for cancer care in Alabama and among the top 25 in the nation. Appointments are available within one week or less.
UAB Medicine is home to the only two fellowship-trained musculoskeletal cancer surgeons in the state, and they have dozens of years of experience. Our medical center is the largest in Alabama, so patients have access to recognized experts in a wide range of medical specialties. Because UAB is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, patients may be able to take part in clinical research trials of promising new cancer therapies. We are the only hospital in the region that offers surgical treatment for soft tissue and bone tumors of the extremities and pelvis.
The board-certified physicians in the Musculoskeletal Joint and Oncologic Surgery Clinic have years of training in orthopaedic surgery and musculoskeletal oncology, and they are leaders in their field. Our doctors are included on the “Best Doctors in America” and “Top Doctors for Cancer” lists, and they are active members of groups such as the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society, the Connective Tissue Oncology Society, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials