• shareIcon

How Many Types of Bone Cancer are there?

Cancer By Tilottama Chatterjee , Onlymyhealth editorial team / Mar 24, 2011
How Many Types of Bone Cancer are there?

Types of Bone Cancer: Benign, Malignant, Primary bone cancer and Seconda

Human Bones There are several types of bone cancer which may be classified as follows:

  • Benign (non –cancerous).
  • Malignant which are cancerous.
  • Primary bone cancer, which starts in the bone.
  • Secondary bone cancer, which starts in some other organ in the body and spreads to the bones.


Statistically, benign cancers are more common and are not life threatening. Of the types of bone cancer that are malignant, there are three that are most common, - Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma and Ewing’s Sarcoma.




This is the most common type of bone cancer and is primarily found in the new tissue of growing bones; it affects those in the age group of ten to twenty five years. It appears mostly in the knees, upper legs and upper arms. The initial symptoms are most often pain, swelling, feverishness, fracture of the affected area and/or weight loss.




This is a type of bone cancer that affects the cartilage of the bone, and is generally seen in people who are in the age group of fifty to sixty years. The cancer develops in the pelvis, upper legs and shoulders. About 25 percent of primary bone cancers are bone cancers of this type. Diagnosis is based on imaging processes like CT scans where the chondroid matrix can be detected. Such patients in the initial stages are apparently in good health, until a lump appears accompanied by pain.


Ewing’s sarcoma


This is a type of bone cancer that is found in the nerve tissues of bone marrow. It most often develops in adolescents, around the age of 10 and above, while some may be affected around the age of 25. It attacks the pelvis, upper legs and the ribs. Symptoms that appear early in the course of this disease could be swelling and tenderness in the affected area, fracture, weight loss, fever and anaemia.


Other less serious conditions may also have these symptoms, so a doctor has to be consulted early. Diagnosis is done by physical examination, blood tests, scans and by needle biopsy, in which a sample of the bone marrow near the affected area is extracted for microscopic analysis.


Metastatic bone cancer


When the cancer spreads to surrounding tissue, or metastasizes, it is referred to as metastatic bone cancer. It may spread to other organs in the body such as the breasts, lungs or the prostrate. The cancer cells are the same as those of the original bone cancer cells and the treatment is the same as for bone cancer.


Treatment of bone cancer


The options are surgery where the affected area is removed – chemotherapy by intravenous treatment using anti cancer drugs; radiotherapy by the use of high energy X-rays to destroy the cancer cells and cryosurgery, which involves the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy the cancer cells.


These afflictions occur in people of different ages and affect different parts of the body, as is shown below:


Type of bone cancer

Age when it occurs

Affected areas



10 -25

New tissues of growing bones in knees upper legs and

Surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, cryosurgery


50- 65

Cartilage in pelvis. Upper legs and shoulders

Surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, cryosurgery

Ewing’s sarcoma


Immature nerve tissues in the bone marrow

Surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, cryosurgery




Read more articles on Understand Bone Cancer


All possible measures have been taken to ensure accuracy, reliability, timeliness and authenticity of the information; however Onlymyhealth.com does not take any liability for the same. Using any information provided by the website is solely at the viewers’ discretion. In case of any medical exigencies/ persistent health issues, we advise you to seek a qualified medical practitioner before putting to use any advice/tips given by our team or any third party in form of answers/comments on the above mentioned website.

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK