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Bone Cancer

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.