Primary bone cancer is a rare type of cancer that begins in the bones. Around 550 new cases are diagnosed each year in the UK.
This is a separate condition from secondary bone cancer, which is cancer that spreads to the bones after developing in another part of the body.
These pages only refer to primary bone cancer. The Macmillan Cancer Support website has more information about secondary bone cancer .
Bone cancer can affect any bone, but most cases develop in the long bones of the legs or upper arms.
The main symptoms include:
If you or your child are experiencing persistent, severe or worsening bone pain, visit your GP. While it's highly unlikely to be the result of bone cancer, it does require further investigation.
The treatment and outlook will depend on the type of bone cancer you have.
In most cases, it's not known why a person develops bone cancer.
You're more at riskof developing it if you:
Generally, bone cancer is much easier to cure in otherwise healthy people whose cancer hasn't spread.
Overall, around 6 in every 10 people with bone cancer will live for at least 5 years from the time of their diagnosis, and many of these may be cured completely.
For more detailed statistics broken down by the different types of bone cancer, see thepage on statistics and outlook for bone cancer on the Cancer Research UK website.
Primary bone cancer is a rare type of cancer that begins in the bones. Around 550 new cases are diagnosed each year in the UK. This is a separate condition from secondary bone cancer, which is cancer that spreads to the bones after developing in another part of the body.
Bone pain is the most common symptom of bone cancer. Some people also experience swelling and redness (inflammation) or notice a lump on or around the affected bone. If the bone is near a joint, the swelling may make it difficult to use the joint.
Cancer occurs when the cells in a certain area of your body divide and multiply too rapidly. This produces a lump of tissue known as a tumour. The exact reason why this happens is often not known, but certain things can increase your chance of developing the condition
If you're experiencing bone pain, your GP will ask about your symptoms and examine the affected area, before deciding whether you need to have any further tests. After being examined, you may be referred for an X-ray of the affected area to look for any problems in the bones.
Treatment for bone cancer depends on the type of bone cancer you have, how far it has spread and your general health. The main treatments are surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Your treatment should be managed by a specialist centre with experience in treating bone cancer.
Carol Starkey, from Bromsgrove, Worcs, was diagnosed with bone cancer in her shoulder just three weeks after she started university. Her advice is to not get discouraged by the treatment. The first few weeks of chemotherapy are the worst. After that, it gets better.