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.

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Top-Ranked by U.S. News & World Report

Penn State Health includes the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, ranked as one of the best orthopedic providers in the country by U.S. News & World Report. This honor was earned because our doctors consistently deliver exceptional patient care and outcomes through their commitment to advanced treatments, translational research and provider training.

Coordinated, Specialized Care Through a Dedicated Institute

Our orthopaedic specialists work together through our dedicated Penn State Bone and Joint Institute. There, they focus on providing you with multidisciplinary, tailored care and state-of-the-art treatments and technologies. This produces the highest-quality patient outcomes. All physicians at the institute are fellowship-trained and subspecialize in additional niche areas of orthopaedics, including arthritis care and joint arthroplasty (joint replacement surgery).

Designated as a Blue Distinction® Center

Penn State Bone and Joint Institute is a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement. This superior designation from BlueCross BlueShield is only given to health care facilities and providers that stand out for their expertise in delivering specialty knee and hip replacement care. Our surgeons specialize in a range of pain-relieving procedures, including partial knee replacement, total joint arthroplasty, joint preservation surgery and complex revision surgery. They perform more than 1,000 joint replacement procedures every year.

Confidence in Treatment Through Education

We developed a special joint replacement education website just for patients undergoing joint arthroplasty. The website takes you step by step through the joint replacement process. From things to consider before choosing surgery to recovery after surgery, you’ll find the information you need to help you feel confident in your decision to undergo joint replacement.

Advancing Orthopaedic Medicine Through Research

The doctors and researchers in our Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center are committed to advancing our field through scientific discovery and education. As the only academic medical center in central Pennsylvania, Hershey Medical Center is a national leader in research, in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine, and on the leading edge of new treatment options, including clinical trials.

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