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Bone cancer

Bone cancer treatment at GenesisCare

At GenesisCare we use sophisticated, evidence-based technology, techniques and innovations to provide truly personalised cancer care, close to home.

Chapter 01

Bone Cancer

Bone cancer is a rare type of cancer that can affect any bone in the body. However, it’s unusual for it to begin in your bones. It’s much more likely to have spread to your bones (metastasised) from cancer in another part in your body.

What is bone cancer?

The three most common primary bone cancers are; osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, and Ewing’s sarcoma.

  • Osteosarcoma: a type of cancer that begins in the bones – usually in the leg and upper arm. It’s more common in males and females and in people aged 15-20
  • Chondrosarcoma: starts in the bones – usually the pelvis, leg, shoulder or ribs – or it can spread to the bones from another area. It’s more common in men than women and in people aged 40-60
  • Ewing’s sarcoma: a rare type of cancer that usually begins in the bones of the hip or leg. It can also affect soft tissues around the bone. It mainly affects people aged 10-20 and is more common in men than women

There are also rarer types of bone cancer. These include cell sarcomas (very similar to osteosarcomas, behave similarly and doctors treat them similarly), fibrosarcomas (rare, in middle-aged adults, thigh bone most commonly) and leiomyosarcomas (very rare type of spindle cell sarcoma).

Causes of bone cancer

It’s not always clear what causes bone cancer. However, you’re more likely to have bone cancer if:

  • You have Paget’s disease of bone
  • You’ve had radiation therapy
  • You have inherited a certain genetic condition such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome
Chapter 02

Symptoms of bone cancer

Having these symptoms doesn’t mean you have bone cancer, but it’s best to get them checked by a doctor. The sooner your cancer is detected, the better the chances of treating it successfully.

  • Difficulty moving the joint
  • Extreme tiredness
  • High temperature
  • Swelling or redness
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Bone fractures
  • Bone pain
Chapter 03

Tests and diagnosis

Your doctor will carry out a thorough physical examination and may suggest the following tests:

  • Blood tests
  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • Needle biopsy – this involves using a needle to take a small bone sample for testing
  • Scans including CT and MRI
  • X-rays on the affected are and the chest
Chapter 04

Treatments we offer

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

There are many ways to have radiation therapy but they all work in a similar way. Carefully controlled high-energy X-rays destroy or damage cancer cells. This stops them growing or spreading.


Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

Chapter 05

Helpful resources

We understand that you may still have some unanswered questions, and we’re here to help you in any way we can. But if you are still seeking answers visit Targeting Cancer for further information about this condition or contact a staff member from a centre near you.

Any procedure including treatments involving radiation carry risks, including skin irritation and associated pain. Before proceeding with a referral for treatment, patients should be advised to seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. As in any medical procedure, patient experiences and outcomes will vary.