As such, the tumors that occur primarily in the bone would be considered as ‘primary tumors’ where as the cancers that get deposited from origins elsewhere in the body are considered to be ‘secondary’ or metastatic cancers. Such deposits can be generated from tissues adjacent to the bone or else which are at a distance. Thus, the muscles, connective tissues, fat tissues, nerves, cartilage…etc as well as organs such as thyoid, lungs, prostate, breast…etc can be considered as origin sites of these secondary tumors.
Characteristics of malignant bone tumors:
Primary malignant bone cancers will usually follow a destructive pattern and unless these lesions are removed or controlled, there may be many bone related complications. The incidence of primary bone cancers would be very low as most of the cancers in the bone would be of metastatic origin. These cancers can be of type osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, fibrosarcoma and Ewigs tumor. Primary bone tumors have the tendency to occur in rapidly growing bone tissues and therefore certain types would occur at a higher incidence among teenagers and young children. But, certain other rarer sarcomas can occur even after the ages of 25 years with secondary metastatic cancers being present exclusively in adults. At the same time, the occurrence of primary bone cancers would also be linked with genetic cancer syndrome as well.
Apart from the above mentioned cancers, there are other cancers such as non Hodgkin’s lymphomas and multiple myelomas which also occur in the cells within the bone tissues as well.
Characteristics of benign bone tumors:
Among the benign bone tumors, osteomas, chondromas and osteochondromas would be the most common. They are named according to the cell type that gives rise to these tumors and in comparison to its malignant counterpart, these tumors would be localized and metastasis would not be taking place. In most instances, benign bone tumors would be managed with watchful waiting as these can disappear with time or would be able to remove through surgery although there is a likelihood of recurrence. The growths of these tumors are heavily dependent on growth hormones and therefore would explain its high incidence among growing children.
In summary, malignant bone tumors would have a poor prognosis as it would depend on the primary site as well as the extent of its spread. The benign tumors would not be having a bad prognosis as its malignant counterpart, although the lesions would require some sort of intervention to get rid of in case of rapid proliferation of cells and interference with the normal growth.