Malignant and Benign Tumors of the Bone

Tumors can form when cells divide and a mass of abnormal cells bind together. Typically, when this happens in the bone, the cause is unknown, but it can weaken the bone and cause pain or fractures. Most bone tumors are benign, or noncancerous, but some are malignant, meaning they are cancerous.

Types of benign bone tumors include:

  • Osteoblastomas
  • Osteoid osteoma

Types of malignant bone tumors include:

  • Chondrosarcoma
  • Chordoma
  • Ewing's sarcoma
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Osteosarcoma

When the tumor starts in the bone, it is called a primary bone tumor. Secondary bone tumors are those that begin in another part of the body and spread, or metastasize, to the bone.

Bone Tumors Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Bone tumors are usually found after feeling a dull pain in the area of the tumor. Other symptoms include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Pain
  • Weakness in arms or legs

To diagnose these types of tumors, the experts at Penn State Health may use several types of imaging technology, including X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computed tomography (CT) scan. Other tests include:

  • Bloodwork
  • Image guided biopsy may to analyze bone tissue
  • Urine test

Your outlook will depend on the size and location of the tumor. Early diagnosis of a tumor is especially important if it is malignant. The earlier the cancer is found, you may have more treatment options available and clinical trials can expand your treatment options.

Experts in Care

Meet our doctors, view their profiles and select the one that’s right for you.

Find a doctor near you

Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Multidisciplinary Team Approach

he musculoskeletal oncology team provides diagnosis, treatment and reconstruction for tumors affecting the musculoskeletal system of both children and adults. The multidisciplinary team is composed of fellowship-trained subspecialists from orthopaedics, radiology, pathology, adult and pediatric oncology and radiation therapy.

Innovative Treatment Options

The team at Penn State Health uses many innovative treatment options, including limb-sparing procedures and soft tissue reconstruction. More than 150 surgical procedures for musculoskeletal tumors are performed each year at Penn State Health.

Support Groups

Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.

Learn more about support groups offered

Convenient Locations

Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.

Find a location near you