Understanding bone & soft-tissue cancer
While the vast majority of tumors that arise in the musculoskeletal system are benign, others are not, making true bone cancer very rare. Unfortunately, there are no screening tests to catch cancers of the musculoskeletal system early.
Whether you suspect a benign tumor, metastatic cancer or bone cancer, the sooner your disease is detected and treated, the better the likelihood of a successful outcome.
At Baptist MD Anderson, we follow MD Anderson’s model of outstanding patient care, research, prevention and education. Our commitment is to bring world-renowned cancer care close to home.
Know what to look for
Signs & Symptoms
Musculoskeletal injuries, such as sports injuries, overuse injuries and mild trauma, generally improve with time and are not associated with persistent swelling. Most of these types of injuries respond to rest, ice, compression and elevation, along with the use over-the-counter pain medicines.
Lingering or worsening pain and dysfunction for more than a few weeks is a good reason to seek evaluation.
Bone Cancer Symptoms:
- General pain
- Painful joint motion
- Painful to touch
- Local warmth or redness
- Pain worse at night
Soft-tissue Cancer Symptoms:
- Lump or mass
- Local tenderness
- Local warmth
What is a risk factor?
A risk factor is something that a person may have, based on their genetics, conditions or exposure which may increase their risk for developing cancer, compared to a normal population of the same age and ethnicity.
Most people with bone cancers do not have any apparent risk factors. Musculoskeletal tumors are less than one percent of the cancers diagnosed every year in the United States. Their rare nature makes it harder to develop an understanding of them because they are so few.
Much work and research is going into the study of these rare diseases.Genetic Counseling Services
Known risk factors
Here are the risk factors we know currently:
- Genetic/hereditary (the retinoblastoma gene or the Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, enchondromatosis, neurofibromatosis, etc.)
- Paget Disease (only 1% of those with Paget disease develop bone cancer)
- Bone infarcts
- Ionizing Radiation, such as from prior cancer treatments, nuclear power plants (Chernobyl or Fukishima reactor accidents), radon (naturally occurring radiation in the ground in some parts of the country) or nuclear weapons (Hiroshima or Nagasaki).
- Exposures to chemicals: pesticides, Agent Orange, etc.
- Bone Marrow Transplant
- Prior chemotherapy or radiation therapy
If you have any questions, we have you covered. We have nurse navigators available to guide you through every step of your care. Request an appointment or speak to a nurse navigator by phone or online.
Within our specialized clinics we bring together our team of experts to care for you - mind, body and spirit - all under one roof. Each of our clinics are singularly focused on your specific needs and treatment.
Need Directions? The sarcoma clinic is located in the main Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center, Floor 6.
Find a Doctor
Our care team brings medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons and other specialists together for each patient.
For whatever step is next,
Baptist MD Anderson is Here for You
Our team of experts are ready to help you navigate the whirlwind of emotions, options and decisions through every aspect of your care.
Prepare for your appointment
See everything you need to know before coming in.
Find a support service
Care for your mental, spiritual health, too.
Billing & insurance
Resources for insurance and financial questions.
Understanding bone & soft-tissue cancer
Frequently Asked Questions
My cancer story will always play a major part of who I am as a person, but it’s also the reason that I chose the career that I did.
- WHITNEY PINSON, CNA
Whitney was diagnosed at age 10 with a rare cancer of the bones and connective tissues called Ewing’s Sarcoma. Today, she works with children who are living with the life-altering diagnosis of cancer.