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Bone Cancer

When cancer cells form in the tissues of the bone, this is known as bone cancer. Although no one knows exactly what causes it, risk factors associated with the disease include a history of Paget's disease, previous radiation, or previous chemotherapy. Pain is the most common symptom of this disease, but symptoms can vary, depending on the location and size of the cancer. Treatment options for bone cancer can include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery.

What Is Bone Cancer?

Bone cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the bone.
 

Understanding Bones

Mature bones are made up of three types of tissue:
 
  • Compact tissue (the hard outer portion of most bones)
  • Cancellous tissue (spongy tissue inside the bones that contains bone marrow, which makes blood cells)
  • Subchondral tissue (smooth bone tissue of the joints).
     
A layer of cartilage covers subchondral tissue to cushion the movement of the joints.
 
The role of the bones is to:
 
  • Support and protect internal organs
  • Act as levers and braces for muscles to produce movement
  • Produce and store blood cells in the bone marrow.
     

Understanding Bone Tumors and Bone Cancer

Bone tumors may be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign bone tumors are more common than malignant bone tumors. Although both types of tumors may grow and compress healthy bone tissue and absorb or replace it with abnormal tissue, benign tumors do not spread (metastasize) and are rarely life threatening.
 
Bone cancer that arises in the bone (primary bone cancer) is different from cancer that spreads to the bone from another part of the body (secondary bone cancer). Examples of secondary cancers that commonly spread to the bone are:
 
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Bone Cancer Information

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