Bone Cancer

Bone cancers are rare forms of cancer that can affect any bone in the body. Two types of bone cancer are multiple myeloma and bone sarcomas. Bone cancers can also happen when tumors that start in other organs, such as breasts, lung, and prostate, metastasize (spread) to the bone. Multiple myeloma is the most common type of bone cancer. The two most common bone sarcomas are osteosarcoma, which develops in new tissue in growing bones, and chondrosarcoma, which develops in cartilage. Osteosarcoma tends to occur more frequently in children and adolescents, while chondrosarcoma occurs more often in adults.

Signs and Symptoms

Bone cancer is accompanied by the following signs and symptoms.

Who's Most At Risk?

People with the following conditions or characteristics may be at risk for developing multiple myeloma. People with the following conditions or characteristics may be at risk for developing osteosarcoma. Your risk for developing chondrosarcoma is higher if you are between the ages of 40 and 60.

What to Expect at Your Provider's Office

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with bone cancer, you should see your health care provider. Keep in mind that many of the same symptoms are associated with other, less serious health conditions. In addition to taking a personal and family medical history, your provider may suggest a blood test to measure the level of alkaline phosphate, an enzyme that increases when a tumor causes production of abnormal bone tissue. X rays and other imaging procedures can show the location, size, and shape of a bone tumor. Not all tumors are cancer. A biopsy—the removal of a sample of tissue from the bone tumor—will reveal whether cancer is present.

Treatment Options

Treatment Plan
The treatment plan depends on the type, size, location, and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient's age and general health.

Drug Therapies

Your provider may prescribe the following therapies.

Surgical and Other Procedures

With multiple myeloma, a bone marrow transplant is sometimes performed. With bone sarcomas, surgery is often the main treatment. In most cases, chemotherapy has made limb-sparing surgery possible and amputation unnecessary.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

A comprehensive treatment plan for bone cancer may include a range of complementary and alternative therapies.


Eat organically-raised foods and foods that support detoxification, immunity, and are high in antioxidants: beets, carrots, artichokes, yams, onions, garlic, yellow and orange vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, sea vegetables, green tea, filtered water, dark leafy greens, and whole grains. Avoid refined foods, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and saturated fats (animal products). Eliminate organ meats and processed meats.

Potentially beneficial nutrient supplements include the following.


Herbal remedies may offer relief from symptoms. Herbs are generally available as dried extracts (pills, capsules, or tablets), teas, or tinctures (alcohol extraction, unless otherwise noted). Dose for teas is 1 heaping tsp. per cup of water steeped for 10 minutes (roots need 20 minutes). Include one or more of the following formulas to support your immune system.


Although very few studies have examined the effectiveness of specific homeopathic therapies, professional homeopaths may consider the following remedies for the treatment of bone cancer based on their knowledge and experience. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person's constitutional type. A constitutional type is defined as a person's physical, emotional, and psychological makeup. An experienced homeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate treatment for each individual. Homeopathic treatment, especially in the case of cancer, should only be used with guidance from a licensed and certified homeopath.


While acupuncture is not used as a treatment for cancer itself, evidence suggests it can be a valuable therapy for cancer-related symptoms (particularly nausea and vomiting that often accompanies chemotherapy treatment). There have also been studies indicating that acupuncture may help reduce pain and shortness of breath. Acupressure (pressing on rather than needling acupuncture points) has also proved useful in controlling breathlessness; this is a technique that patients can learn and then use to treat themselves.

Some acupuncturists prefer to work with a patient only after the completion of conventional medical cancer therapy. Others will provide acupuncture and/or herbal therapy during active chemotherapy or radiation. Acupuncturists treat cancer patients based on an individualized assessment of the excesses and deficiencies of qi located in various meridians. In many cases of cancer-related symptoms, a qi deficiency is usually detected in the spleen or kidney meridians.


Chiropractors will not perform spinal manipulation over areas of the body where bone cancer is present, but they may use this procedure over areas that are free of bone cancer in an attempt to relieve pain associated with the condition.

Prognosis/Possible Complications

With multiple myeloma, patients generally live for 15 months to five years. Complications may include heart attack, lung disease, diabetes, and stroke. With bone sarcomas, 60 to 70 percent of patients experience long-term survival. Potential complications include those arising from surgery and possible spread of the cancer to the lungs.

Following Up

Your health care provider will want to see you regularly to check for complications and to make sure the cancer has not returned.


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