CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
It's not clear what causes most bone cancers. Doctors know bone cancer begins as an error in a cell's DNA. The error tells the cell to grow and divide in an uncontrolled way. These cells go on living, rather than dying at a set time. The accumulating mutated cells form a mass (tumor) that can invade nearby structures or spread to other areas of the body.
Types of bone cancer
Bone cancers are broken down into separate types based on the type of cell where the cancer began. The most common types of bone cancer include:
- Osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma begins in the bone cells. Osteosarcoma occurs most often in children and young adults.
- Chondrosarcoma. Chondrosarcoma begins in cartilage cells that are commonly found on the ends of bones. Chondrosarcoma most commonly affects older adults.
- Ewing's sarcoma. It's not clear where in bone Ewing's sarcoma begins. Scientists believe Ewing's sarcoma may begin in nerve tissue within the bone. Ewing's sarcoma occurs most often in children and young adults.
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- Bone cancer: Questions and answers. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/bone. Accessed June 29, 2011.