- Guidelines for treating this cancer have been developed by the Musculoskeletal and Sarcoma Tumour Group.
- For health professional information on treating this cancer, please see our Cancer Management Guidelines
- Sarcomas are divided into two main groups: bone sarcomas and soft tissue sarcomas.
- Bone sarcomas are also known as primary bone cancer. They are cancers that start in the bone.
- For cancer that has spread to the bone from another part of the body, please refer to information on secondary bone cancer and the type of cancer that was first diagnosed.
- The 206 bones in the human body provide structure and protection.
- Bone sarcomas can occur in any bone in the body but are commonly found in the bones in arms and legs.
What causes it and who gets it?
Listed below are some of the known risk factors for this cancer. Not all of the risk factors below may cause this cancer, but they may be contributing factors.
- Patients who have received past treatment with radiation therapy have a higher risk of developing bone sarcomas.
- Patients who have Paget's disease are at an increased risk for to developing osteosarcoma. Paget's disease is a non-cancerous bone condition in which parts of the skeleton become overactive, break down and then re-grow at an abnormally fast rate.
- Bone sarcomas can sometimes occur because of genetic abnormalities in tumour suppressor genes, such as the retinoblastoma (Rb) gene or the p-52 (p-glycoprotein) gene. Tumour suppressor genes keep cells from dividing too quickly. Abnormalities in these genes could cause cells to grow out of control and may lead to cancer.
- Bone sarcomas may develop in patients who have fibrous dysplasia (a bone disease that destroys and replaces normal bone with fibrous bone tissue).
- Patients with familial endochondromatosis (a benign growth found in the cartilage of hands and feet) may also develop bone sarcomas.
- Primary bone cancers (cancer that starts in the bone) are very rare - less 0.5% of all cancers. It is much more common for other types of cancer to spread to the bone.
- Most recent available statistics:
NOTE: Available statistics do not have information about the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse participants. Unless specified, it is unknown how these statistics apply to transgender and gender diverse people. Patients are advised to speak with their primary care provider or specialists about their individual considerations and recommendations.
Can I help to prevent it?
There are no known prevention measures for bone sarcomas.
Screening for this cancer
No effective screening program exists for this cancer yet.
Signs and Symptoms
- Diagnosing bone sarcomas is difficult because the symptoms are similar to those of bone injuries, bursitis, arthritis or non-cancerous bone tumours.
- The symptoms vary according to the type and location of the sarcoma. The following list contains some of the general symptoms of bone sarcomas:
- Pain in a bone or joint
- Tumours can weaken bones and cause fractures.