Bone Cancer

Bone Bone cancer often begins as a painful lump (tumour) in the bone and is also known as bone sarcoma. As the cancer grows it starts destroying the healthy bone. When that happens, the affected bone becomes weak and will begin causing problems such as pain and fractures.

There are over 30 types of bone cancers but just to name a few:

Osteosarcoma: the most common type of bone cancer consists of abnormal bone-producing cells.

Chondrosarcoma: a type of bone cancer that consists of abnormal cartilage cells.

Ewing sarcoma: tumours that usually occur in bone but may also affect soft tissues.


Collectively, bone cancers are rare. Nationwide there were 191 new cases of bone cancer in 2012.

Risk of diagnosis before age 75

Men Men: 1 in 1286Woman Women: 1 in 2301

Causes/Risk Factors

The causes of bone cancers remain largely unknown but certain risk factors appear to explain a proportion of cases:

  • Those who have been exposed to high doses of ionizing radiation are at increased risk
  • People with medical conditions such as Paget's disease of the bone, fibrous dysplasia or multiple enchondromas are at higher risk
  • Most bone cancers have no known genetic cause, but some inherited conditions put people at higher risk of developing bone cancer



If the information on this website raises any questions or concerns relating to your cancer, please call Cancer Council on 13 11 20. Specialist cancer nurses staff the line Monday to Friday 9.00am-5.00pm.