A bone tumor is an abnormal growth of cells within a bone. A bone tumor may be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign).
The cause of bone tumors is unknown. They often occur in areas of the bone that grow rapidly. Possible causes include:
- Genetic defects passed down through families
- In most cases, no specific cause is found.
Osteochondromas are the most common noncancerous (benign) bone tumors. They occur most often in young people between the ages of 10 and 20.
Cancers that start in the bones are called primary bone tumors. Bone cancers that start in another part of the body (such as the breast, lungs, or colon) are called secondary or metastatic bone tumors. They behave very differently from primary bone tumors.
Cancerous primary bone tumors include:
- Ewing sarcoma
Cancers that most often spread to the bone are cancers of the:
These forms of cancer usually affect older people.
Bone cancer is more common in people who have a family history of cancers.