There is currently no known
cause for bone cancers


What are Bone Cancers?

Bone Cancer is described as the uncontrollable growth of cells that originates in areas with bones or bone related cells. Bone Cancer is one of the more frightening forms of cancer due to the ease with which it can spread. There are 3 primary types of bone cancers: Osteosarcomas, Ewing Tumors (ET), and Chondrosarcomas. All of these will be discussed in great detail below.

Bone Cancers, as the name implies, are abnormal clusters of cells that originate within bones. One reason that these cells are dangerous is because they lead to the death of normal bone tissue. However, another danger comes at the form with which this cancer can metastasize, or spread, around the body. Since bones exist in practically every system and area of the body, this disease has the potential to be spread almost anywhere.

Let's start off by discussing each individual type of Bone Cancer. As shown through the graph below, Osteosarcomas are easily the most common types of Bone Cancer, accounting for 56% of all Bone Cancer cases. This is followed by Ewing Tumors, and finally, Chondrosarcomas.

Osteosarcomas Ewing Tumors Chondrosarcomas Other


As illustrated by the chart above, Osteosarcoma is the most frequent form of Bone Cancer. Before discussing how this form of cancer impacts patients, it is first essential to understand the implications of the cancer's location in the skeletal system. The role of the skeletal system in the body is essential, as it provides for protection and support for a wide variety of bodily functions. The only reason why the body is able to move the way it is is due to the joints and bones located all over the body, something that this form of cancer inhibits.

The fact that bones are located virtually everywhere on the body is precisely what makes it so dangerous. Osteosarcomas can technically occur anywhere that a bone exists, but they most commonly form near the lower thigh, shin bone, and the upper arm (sometimes referred to as the Femur, Tibia, and Humerus respectively). The exact causes of this form of cancer are unknown, but it is suspected that genetics play a key factor in the transmission of the diseaes.

The danger of Osteosarcomas, like most form of cancer, are highly contingent on the stage in which they were discovered. For instance, if the cancer is discovered before it metastasizes, the 5 year survival rate for patients is generally noted to fall anywhere from 60 to 80 percent. However, if the cancer spreads before it is found, the survival rate within this same timeframe can be as low as 15 to 30 percent.

Systems of Osteosarcomas vary from patient to patient, but there are a few common ones to be noted. These include intense pain at the tumor site, rare bone fractures, difficulty with breathing, and sudden weight loss without explanation.

Ewing Tumors

Ewing Tumors are relatively uncommon, accounting for just 34 percent of all Bone Cancer cases. They usually form in the same spots as Osteosarcomas, but there are a few noteable exceptions to this generalization. That is, they have been known to form in the cavities of the leg and arm bones, and can also form in soft tissues of the body near bones.

Ewing Tumors are a bit different than Osteosarcomas in that they form from primitive cells. Primitive cells are the oldest cells in the body. One common misconception is that this results in different treatment - Ewing Tumors still contain the same DNA abnormalities, and respond to most methods of treatement the same way other cancerous cells do.

The survival rates of Ewing Tumors are especially noteworthy due the relationship that they appear to have with the age of the patient. For example, about 70 percent of children with Ewing Tumors survive five years or more. Unfortunately, people aged between 15 and 19 suffer a significantly lower survival rate of about 56 percent.

As of now, there are no identifiable environmental factors that contribute to the development of Ewing Tumors. The only way to protect someone from this disease is to be proactive in making healthy decisions and taking care to ensure that any problems are diagnosed as soon as possible. Waiting too long to be examined by a doctor is a mistake that costs lives.


Chondrosarcomas are different from other forms of Bone Cancer in one very specific way. Instead of infecting hard bones, Chondrosarcomas actually attack the cartilage in the body. They are still capable of forming in the hips, ribs, and arm bones, but the key difference is that they can attack places with cartilage.

The symptoms of Chondrosarcomas often make it difficult to detect. In fact, those who contract Chondrosarcoma typically do not feel sick. Instead, time will reveal other symptoms, such as boney protrusions, difficulty with advanced movement, or a feeling of dull pain.

Because these symptoms are often not percieved as being cancerous, some patients will fail to deal with the problem appropriately and thus will have a more difficult time dealing with their cancer. As with all Bone Cancers, early treatment is a necessity in terms of ensuring that an effective recovery is enjoyed by the patient.

Advancements in Treatment

The incidence rate of Bone Cancer has been steadily increasing since 1975. While this may seem like an overwhelmingly negative situation at first glance, a silver lining can be found through the fact that modern medicine and scientific advancements have forced the death rate to plunge in recent decades. This has been brought about through improved means of treatment and diagnosis that have proved effective for people across the planet.

Bone Cancer Incidence Rates VS. Death Rates (rate per 100,000)

Why the Increase?

This significant increase in survival rates can be attributed to the extreme advanced in modern science and practice of medicine, as these have allowed for more effective methods of treatment that make Bone Cancer easier to treat and live with. Below are some explanations of the medical staff that have been responsible for maintaining such medical advancements, as well as certain types of new treatments that have revolutionized the field of Bone Cancer treatments.

Medical Staff

One of the first things that is determined after a patient is diagnosed with Bone Cancer is the type of medical team best suited for that particular patient. This team includes doctors and other medical staff that work with the patient to craft a treatment plan that is optomized for their specific needs. One such staff member is an oncologist, a general cancer doctor that establihses the optimal treatment plan for the patient.

Another type of doctor that is sometimes brought in is a nuclear medicine specialist. This doctor specializes in applying radioactive substances to diagnose and treat various Bone tumors. Lastly, the Orthopedist is a doctor who specializes in treatment of the joints, muscles, ligaments, and skeletal system.

Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, treatment options for Bone Cancer can include: Surgery, radiation therapy (proton therapy), laser therapy, chemotherapy, and certain types of targeted therapy. While none of these options are exceedingly pleasant, recent advancements in technology have made them more effective while also keeping side effects to a minimum.

Proton Therapy

One of the most exciting developments in the field of Bone Cancer treatment has presented itself in the form of Proton Therapy. Proton Therapy offers an alternative to complete surgery, and is especially useful in cases where the bone in question cannot be moved or shifted without harming the patient.

Proton Therapy works by targeting certain forms of Bone Cancer with a beam of protons. This high degree of precision allows doctors to deliver radiation to tumors without harming nearby healthy tissue. This means that Proton Therapy is effective in subverting many of the side effects that often accompany similar radiation-based therapies, thus resulting in a more comfortable and effective treatment program for the patient.

This form of treatment has proven to be indispensable in the treatment of children and young adults due to the comparatively unaggressive way in which it targets unhealthy areas of the body. While Proton Therapy doesn't completely remove side effects, it is effective in making them easier to deal with while also effectively dealing with tumerous cells.

Myeloablative Therapy

Myeloablative Therapy is one of the most interesting treatment innovations that has been refined over the past couple of years. It works by using powerful forms of chemotherapy to attack cancerous cells, especially those that have spread throughout the body.

While the overbearing nature of the treatment typicaly results in severe side effects, it can prove effective for patients who have exhausted all other options. In fact, this specific form of treatment is almost always followed by stem cell therapy that can reconstruct the bone marrow that was damaged or destroyed by the cancer and its treatment. In this way, Myeloablative Therapy constructs the foundation upon which long-term health can be achieved.

This is only scratching the surface of what modern science has brought to the world in terms of treatment options, and offers hope for what the future holds in store for us.

How to Help

While tremendous strides have been taken in recent years to reduce the mortality rate of Bone Cancer, more progress is needed before this issue can be declared one of the past. The incident rate for Bone Cancer has been on the rise for decades now, causing pain for thousands of people worldwide each year. The organizations below all serve as fantastic ways to right this wrong by advancing the world one step closer to relieving current patients of their pain and preventing the issue from reoccuring in the future.

The Bone Cancer Research Trust

The Bone Cancer Research Trust has been dedicated to stopping the spread of Bone Cancer since its inception in 2006. Their goals are ambitious, with plans to support the research of advanced Bone Cancers, raise awareness about the disease, enhance general knowledge about its influence, and to provide support for patients that already have it.

The Bone Cancer Research Trust has funded 35 peer-reviewed research projects since 2006. The amount of money donated totals £1,392,731, which equates to roughly $2,114,792. This tremendous sum of money has all gone towards the betterment of conditions for Bone Cancer patients, and has proved to be tremendously successful in that respect. You can take them one step further in their fight by donating money to their cause. Each and every dollar brings Bone Cancer one step closer to its demise.


The Sunbeam Foundation

The Sunbeam Foundation is an organization that works tirelessly to assist in the fight against Bone Cancers that afflict children and young adults. This is because people of this age group are the demographic most commonly affected by this terrible disease.

The foundation was created by songwriter Brad Wolfe in an effort his help his friend. They strive to fund cutting-edge research related to the different forms of Bone Cancer, and ultimately serve as the backbone upon which volunteer opportunities are constructed.

People like you are the reason that such foundations are able to remain operational. Because of you, these foundations are able to maintain the quality of their work, and slowly distroy diseases such as Bone Cancer that plauge countless people across the world. It only takes a few moments and a small amount of generosity to take a stand against Bone Cancers by contributing to the fight through the Sunbeam Foundation.


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