Bone Cancer

Bone Cancer Awareness Month & Ribbon
Month November
Ribbon Yellow Color



Bone cancer also called as Osteosarcoma, affects the bones of the body, the long bones in particular. There are different types of bone cancer that affect both adults and children.

Signs & Symptoms

Bone cancer can be characterized by bone pain, inflammation in and around the affected bone, fragile or brittle bones that are prone to fracture, fatigue and rapid weight loss. Fever, chills and night sweats are also other signs of the disease, but occur only in the later stages.



  • Treatment for bone cancer can involve surgery, radiation and chemotherapy or a combination of these treatments.
  • Surgery can involve removal of the bone tissue, the bone or the limb itself. It can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $ 10,000 based on the complication.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation can be used to kill the cancer cells especially where surgery is not a possibility. The combined costs can go up to $60,000 with an additional monthly expense of $2000 towards medical supplies until recovery.
  • Targeted therapy is another type of treatment where drugs such as Imatinib are used to stop the signals from defective genes. This therapy could cost about $30,000 especially where monoclonal antibodies and interferons are involved.


Causes of bone cancer can be many, but the base lies in genetic aberrations to the bone cells and the uncontrolled growth of such cells. People with a predisposition for certain rare genetic diseases like retinoblastoma and those who had radiation therapy for cancer are more likely to develop bone cancer. Depending on where the cancer originates, bone cancer can be:

  • Osteosarcoma – starts in the bone cells and common in children and younger adults
  • Chondrosarcoma – starts in the cartilage cells and affects adults
  • Ewing's sarcoma – Starts in the nerve tissue of the bone and common in children and younger adults

Test & Procedures

Diagnosis of bone cancer begins with assessment of clinical symptoms and then prescribing for imaging tests such as X-ray, bone scan, CT scan, MRI and PET scans. When these show some positive results, a bone biopsy is conducted to study the histopathology of the bone cells. Based on the biopsy results the stage of cancer is determined depending on the degree of damage and spread.

Preventive Measures

Lifestyle changes such as balanced diet, giving up smoking and excess alcohol consumption and keeping active through exercise are some of the ways you can avoid susceptibility to cancer.

Side Effects

Side effects of chemotherapy and radiation may include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, hair fall and fatigue. Targeted therapies are very well tolerated by the patients as they are mostly proteins and hence less toxic than any other medication.

A to Z Cancer Types