Bone cancer

Bone cancer is a rare type of cancer that can affect any bone in the body.

 

What is bone cancer?

It’s unusual for bone cancer 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. There are three main types of bone cancer that begin in the bones – 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 men than women and in people aged 15-20
  • Chondrosarcoma: starts in the cartilage cells of 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 spindle cell sarcomas (very similar to osteosarcomas. These behave in a similar way and doctors treat them in a similar way); fibrosarcomas (these are rare and found in middle-aged adults – most commonly in the thigh bone); and leiomyosarcomas (a 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 certain an inherited genetic condition such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome

Symptoms of bone cancer

These include:

Difficulty moving the joint

Extreme tiredness

High temperature

Swelling or redness

Unintentional weight loss

Bone fractures

Bone pain

Having one or more of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have cancer but it’s best to ask your doctor for advice. The sooner your cancer is detected, the better the chances of treating it successfully.

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

Treatments we offer

Your specialist doctor will discuss treatment options with you, which may include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
 
 

Radiotherapy 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.

Read more

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

Read more

Radiotherapy 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.

Read more

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

Read more

Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

Search for a centre near you

Maidstone

17 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4UA

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Birmingham

Little Aston Hall Drive, Sutton, West Midlands, Coldfield B74 3BF

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Nottingham

The Park Cancer Centre, Sherwood Lodge Drive, Burntstump Country Park, Notthingham, NG5 8RX

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Portsmouth

Portsmouth, Bartons Road, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 5NA

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Guildford

BMI St Martha Oncology Centre, 46 Harvey Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 3XL

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Southampton

Southampton Centre, Chalybeate Close (off Tremona Road), Southampton, SO16 6UY

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Chelmsford

Springfield Cancer Centre, Lawn Lane, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 7GU

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Elstree

Unit 710, Centennial Park, Elstree, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 3SZ

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Oxford

Sandy Lane West, Peters Way, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 6LB

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Milton Keynes

Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood East, Milton Keynes, BuckinghamShire, MK14 6LS

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Newmarket

The Oaks, Fordham Road, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7XN

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Windsor

69 Alma Road, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 3HD

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