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Types of Bone Cancer

Updated at: Dec 20, 2011
Written by: Shreya LallPublished at: Jul 11, 2011
Types of Bone Cancer

Types of Bone cancer: Learn about types of bone cancer(osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, chordoma, Ewing's sarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytom). The most common type of bone cancer is Osteosarcoma.

Looking at X Ray reportBone cancer can be categorised into various types based on factors like the origin of the cancerous cells, their spread and reach, the nature of the tumour, the age of the person affected as well as the body part or organ that has been affected. As per diagnosis, the types of bone cancer can be classified in the following ways:


Primary bone cancer: Primary bone cancer refers to cancer that originates in the bone and gradually spreads to other parts of the body. At various stages of bone cancer, the concentration of  cancerous cells increases which affects life expectancy.


Secondary bone cancer: This term is used to describe the process where the malignant cells in the bones have spread from some other part of the body. This condition is prevalent amongst people who have been suffering from lung, breast or prostate cancer. As a result of this, the bones become weak and can fracture, so an increase in your calcium level is a symptom of this type of cancer. The patient also experiences a lot of pain in various parts of the body, with the back  feeling it especially.


Osteosarcoma: This type of bone cancer originates from the osteoid tissue of the bone, and is seen in children  and adolescents. It is more common in tall males rather than females. The cancer develops at the ends of the bones where new tissues are formed and is prevalent in the knee, the upper arm and legs. .


Chondrosarcoma is one of the common types of bone cancer. It originates and develops in the cartilage tissue of the bone. This tissue pads both sides of the bones and thus connects the joints. It can affect the pelvis, leg bones  and shoulder area, and is usually diagnosed in people above the age of 50.


Ewing’s sarcoma - or the Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumours (ESFTs) - is a type of primary bone cancer. It starts in the legs or pelvic bone, but  sometimes they develop in soft tissue. It is similar to osteosarcoma in that it affects teens and young adults.


Spindle cell sarcoma can be further divided into:

  • Undifferentiated sarcoma of the bone, where the cells are not specialised, so it is difficult to detect which cells they originated from.
  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma, the areas affected include the arms and the legs. This is usually found in middle-aged people.
  • Fibrosarcomas affect the thigh bone and is prevalent in middle-aged adults.
  • Leiomyosarcoma of the bone is a rare category of spindle cell sarcoma.

Giant cell tumours: This type of cancer develops in the form of a benign tumour, usually in the legs or arm bones and is malignant in nature. Such tissues grow over time, and in spite of being surgically removed, can recur with  devastating effects.


Chordama: This kind of bone cancer develops in the notochord, i.e. the early spinal tissue in a foetus that later develops into bone. In case of chrodama, small areas of the notochord fail to develop. This type of cancer can spread to the lungs, liver and skin,  and is prevalent in 40–60 year olds.



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