The exact causes of bone cancer are usually unknown if the cancer is primary bone cancer, meaning the tumors began to form in the bone. Bone cancer that develops in this way is rare, and it can be the result of other rare diseases that cause cancerous cells to form and multiply in the bone tissue. Secondary bone cancer is more common, and is caused by the spread of cancerous cells that originated in another part of the body, such as the lungs, breast, or colon. This type of cancer is also known as metastatic bone cancer.
Causes of bone cancer that originates in the bone can be the result by a hereditary condition known as Paget’s disease. This disease damages the remodeling of bone process, during which the formation of new bone and the absorption of old bone is completed. Bones that form in a person with Paget's disease are brittle, thick, and abnormally shaped. Other inherited conditions that are common causes of bone cancer include Rothmund-Thompson syndrome and Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
Osteosarcoma is another one of the rare causes of primary bone cancer. This disease usually develops in children and young adults during his or her growth stage, but it is sometimes experienced by older adults. Osteosarcoma usually forms in the cells located in the arm, shin, or thigh.
Ewing’s sarcoma is a type of cancer where a genetic mutation causes cancerous cells to multiply in the bone tissue. This disease is usually seen in children or young adults, and it most often affects males. Ewing's sarcoma usually originates in the femur, pelvis, or the bones in the chest. The cancerous cells spread to other areas of the body fairly rapidly, and there are very few symptoms of the disease.
Chondrosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that is produced by the cells that form cartilage in the bones. It is usually diagnosed in adults over 40 years old. The cancerous cells are commonly seen in the pelvis or long limbs.
Bone cancer is more commonly the result of the spread of cancerous tissue from other organs or parts of the body. A physician will still categorize cancer that has spread, or metasticized, from the lungs, stomach, or other organs, but the cancer will affect bone tissue and cartilage in the same way as primary bone cancers. The causes of bone cancer should be discussed with a physician or oncologist.