Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Education: Bone & Soft Tissue Sarcomas

Primary bone cancer is rare, with approximately 2,500 new cases diagnosed each year, according to the American Cancer Society. More commonly, bones are the site of tumors that result from the spread (metastasis) of cancer from another organ, such as the breasts, lungs, or prostate.

Most bone and soft tissue cancers are called sarcomas. The most common type of bone cancer is osteosarcoma, which develops in new tissue in growing bones and accounts for 35 percent of cases. Other types of bone cancers are Ewing sarcoma and chondrosarcoma. Osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma tend to occur more frequently in children and adolescents, while chondrosarcoma occurs more often in adults. Several rare types of cancer account for the remainder of cases.

Soft tissue cancers can develop in connective tissue attached to bone including ligaments, tendons and muscles. Approximately half of soft tissue cancers develop in the arms or legs. Rhabdomyosarcomas are malignant tumors of skeletal muscle, and affect children more often than adults. Synovial sarcoma is a malignant tumor of the tissue around joints. Fibrosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) are cancers of fibrous tissue. Other types of soft tissue cancers occur in fat, nerve, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues.