Primary bone cancer is an unusual kind of cancer that starts in the bones. Around 550 brand-new cases are detected each year in the UK.

What is Bone Cancer

This is a different condition from secondary bone cancer, which is cancer that infects the bones after establishing in another part of the body. These pages just describe main bone cancer. The Macmillan Cancer Support site has more details about secondary bone cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Bone Cancer

Bone cancer can impact any bone, however many cases establish in the long bones of the legs or arms.

The primary signs consist of:

  • relentless bone discomfort that becomes worse gradually and continues into the night
  • swelling and soreness (swelling) over a bone, which can make motion challenging if the impacted bone is near a joint
  • a visible swelling over a bone
  • a weak bone that breaks (fractures) more quickly than typical

If you or your kid are experiencing relentless, serious or getting worse bone discomfort, visit your GP. While it’s extremely not likely to be the outcome of bone cancer, it does need more examination.

Read more about the symptoms of bone cancer.

Types of Bone Cancer

Some of the primary kinds of bone cancer are:

  • osteosarcoma — the most typical type, which mainly impacts kids and young people under 20
  • Ewing sarcoma — which most typically impacts individuals aged in between 10 and 20
  • chondrosarcoma — which tends to impact grownups aged over 40

Young individuals can be impacted since the quick development spurts that take place throughout adolescence might make bone tumours establish.

The above kinds of bone cancer impact various kinds of cell. The treatment and outlook will depend upon the kind of bone cancer you have.

What Causes Bone Cancer?

In most cases, it’s not understood why an individual establishes bone cancer.

You’re more at threat of establishing it if you:

  • have actually had previous direct exposure to radiation throughout radiotherapy
  • have actually a condition referred to as Paget’s illness of the bone — nevertheless, just a really little number of individuals with Paget’s illness will really establish bone cancer
  • have an unusual hereditary condition called Li-Fraumeni syndrome– individuals with this condition have a defective variation of a gene that typically assists stop the development of malignant cells

How Bone Cancer is Treated

Treatment for bone cancer depends upon the kind of bone cancer you have and how far it has actually spread out.

Most individuals have a mix of:

  • surgical treatment to get rid of the area of malignant bone — it’s frequently possible to rebuild or change the bone that’s been gotten rid of, however amputation is often needed
  • chemotherapie — treatment with effective cancer-killing medication
  • radiotherapie — where radiation is utilized to ruin malignant cells

In some cases of osteosarcoma, a medication called mifamurtide might likewise be suggested.


The outlook for bone cancer depends upon aspects such as your age, the kind of bone cancer you have, how far the cancer has actually spread out (the phase), and how most likely it is to spread out even more (the grade). Generally, bone cancer is a lot easier to treat in otherwise healthy individuals whose cancer hasn’t spread out.

Overall, around 6 in every 10 individuals with bone cancer will live for a minimum of 5 years from the time of their medical diagnosis, and much of these might be treated entirely.

Cancer Research UK has more comprehensive data broken down by the various kinds of bone cancer, see the page on data and outlook for bone cancer.

Coronavirus guidance

Get guidance about coronavirus and cancer:

  • Macmillan: Coronavirus assistance for individuals with cancer
  • Cancer Research UK: Coronavirus and cancer