Several types of bone cancer (usually called sarcoma) can be found in the human body. Bone cancer can begin in any bone, but usually starts in the arms and legs. Primary bone cancer is cancer that starts in the bones and has no other cause. Secondary bone cancer occurs as a result of another cancer that has spread to the bones. Most bone tumors are not cancerous, but some are. Diagnosis is necessary to determine what kind of bone cancer a patient has.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Know about the 2 kinds of bone cancer: primary and secondary. Primary bone cancer, which only occurs in about 2,500 people each year, has no known cause. Secondary bone cancer, on the other hand, will occur in about 575,000 people each year, and is the result of another cancer that has spread to the bones.
Understand that there are 3 different main kinds of primary bone cancer. These are osteosarcoma (35 percent of cases, mostly in children and young adults aged 10 to 25), chondrosarcoma (26 percent of cases, mostly in adults over 50), and Ewing's sarcoma (which occurs in 16 percent of cases, mostly in people between the ages of 10 and 25). Other forms can occur, but they are rare.
Recognize that there are a several factors that may increase one's risk of bone cancer. These include having been treated for another disease with radiation or chemotherapy, having Paget's Disease and having a family history of bone cancer.
Learn more about bone cancer and the treatment options available at the American Cancer Society Web site (see "Resources" below). Learning more about the disease is a good way to follow up on an initial diagnosis, as knowledge tends to make patients feel empowered.
Ask your doctor about changes in your lifestyle you may have to make if you are diagnosed with bone cancer. Some bone cancers can make bones more likely to break. Your doctor may ask that you refrain from participating in certain kinds of vigorous activities that could expose your bones to physical stress.