A primary bone tumor is a tumor that starts in the bone itself. The main type of cancers that are true (or primary) "bone" cancers are called sarcomas. Sarcomas are cancers that start in bone, muscle, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, fat tissue, as well as some other tissues. They can develop anywhere in the body.
There are several different types of bone tumors. Their names are based on the area of bone or surrounding tissue that is affected and the kind of cells forming the tumor.
Some types of primary bone cancer are osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma and chondrosarcoma. Kaposi sarcoma is a type of cancer characterized by the abnormal growth of blood vessels that develop into skin lesions or occur internally.
Some primary bone tumors are benign (not cancerous), and others are malignant (cancerous).
Secondary bone cancer is cancer that spreads to the bone from another part of the body, such as the prostate, breast or lung.
In 2009, there were about 2,500 new cases of bone and joint cancer and 1,470 deaths in the United States.
Risk factors for sarcoma:
- Being a teen or young adult, because sarcomas often form during growth spurts
- Being male
- Having radiation treatment in the past
- Having chemotherapy with anticancer drugs, called alkylating agents, in the past
- Having a certain genetic change
- Having certain rare medical conditions