Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Bone Cancer

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 10/2013
Risk Factors

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about what factors increase the chance of developing this type of cancer. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors can often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. However, knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

The following factors may raise a person’s risk of developing bone cancer.

Genetics. Children with familial retinoblastoma (an eye cancer) have an increased risk of developing osteosarcoma.

Previous radiation therapy. People who have had radiation treatment for other conditions have a higher risk of developing bone cancer at the site of the radiation therapy. The majority of radiation therapy-caused bone cancers are osteosarcoma, but other types may occur.

Chemotherapy. Some drugs, including alkylating agents and anthracyclines, used to treat cancer may increase the risk of developing a secondary cancer, usually osteosarcoma.

Benign tumors or other bone conditions. Paget’s disease may cause osteosarcoma. Other noncancerous bone diseases, such as fibrous dysplasia, may increase the risk of osteosarcoma.

Currently, there is no known way to prevent bone cancer. Early detection offers the best hope for successful treatment, so people with known risk factors are encouraged to visit the doctor regularly and talk with him or her about it. Still, most bone cancer occurs in people with no known risk factors.

Choose “Next” (below, right) to continue reading this guide to learn about what symptoms this type of cancer can cause. Or, use the colored boxes located on the right side of your screen to visit any section.

© 2005-2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.

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