Orthopaedic tumors and cancers

Benign bone tumors

Benign bone tumors are abnormal lumps of tissue that form when cells inside your bones divide uncontrollably. These tumors aren’t cancer and aren’t usually life-threatening. They grow slower than cancerous tumors and don't spread to other areas of the body. Bone cancer surgeons at Emory Orthopaedic Oncology treat benign tumors including those listed below.

Aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC)

Filled with blood, an aneurysmal bone cyst causes a bulge in the bone. These cysts are rare and usually occur on your knees or backbones. ABCs are most often found in people from birth through age 20.

Learn more about Aneurysmal bone cysts

Chondroblastoma

These tumors usually form at the ends of long bones such as the thigh and upper arm. They’re small and contained within the bone, so you may not be able to see or feel them. Pain is the most common symptom. Chondroblastoma can affect anyone, but most often happens in men age 25 and younger.

Learn more about Chondroblastoma

Enchondroma

Enchondroma begins in the connective tissue (cartilage) inside your bones – most often the small bones in your hands and feet. These tumors can begin in childhood and remain throughout adulthood, but rarely cause pain.

Learn more about Enchondroma

Fibrous dysplasia

Fibrous dysplasia happens when scar-like tissue grows in place of normal bone. The abnormal tissue can weaken the bone and cause complications.

Learn more about Fibrous dysplasia

Giant cell bone tumor

Although not cancer, this rare tumor can destroy bone. It usually affects people ages 20 to 40, and is most effectively treated with surgery.

Learn more about Giant cell bone tumors

Bone hemangioma

Hemangiomas are tumors made up of blood vessels. Bone hemangiomas usually happen in your skull or spine, and may grow on the surface or deep in the bone. These tumors are most common in people ages 50 to 70.

Learn more about Bone hemangioma

Osteoblastoma

These rare, slow-growing tumors weaken healthy bone. Because they make your bones vulnerable to breaks from very minor injuries, surgery is required.

Learn more about Osteoblastoma

Osteochondroma

Osteochondromas form near the ends of bones during childhood or adolescence, and may grow larger as a child grows. The exact cause is still unknown. These tumors cause no pain and usually don’t need treatment.

Learn more about Osteochondroma

Unicameral bone cyst

A unicameral (simple) bone cyst is a cavity in one of your bones, filled with straw-colored fluid. These tumors can affect your upper arm, thigh, pelvis, ankle or heel. Most unicameral bone cysts have no symptoms. They affect people age 20 and younger.

Learn more about Unicameral bone cyst

Malignant Tumors

Cancerous cells can grow fast and metastasize (spread) to other areas of your body through your bloodstream. Malignant tumors can affect the breasts, prostate, bones or your immune system. At Emory Orthopaedic Oncology, we treat many kinds of malignant tumors.

Chordoma

These slow-growing tumors often affect the spine or skull base and can spread to other organs, usually your lungs.

Learn more about Chordoma

Lymphoma

Lymphoma can start in the bone marrow or in the cells that are part of your immune system. These tumors are more common in the pelvis and thighbone. Bone lymphoma usually happens in people ages 20 to 40.

Learn more about Lymphoma

Malignant fibrous histiocytoma

Malignant fibrous histiocytoma is the most common bone and soft tissue tumor in older adults. This aggressive cancer most often affects the thighs.

Learn more about Malignant fibrous histiocytoma

Metastatic bone disease

Cancer can metastasize (spread) to your bones from other organs such breasts, prostate or lungs. This can damage your bones and increase your risk for broken bones.

Learn more about Metastatic bone disease

Myeloma

These tumors start in your bone marrow and are the most common cancer that begins in your bones. Myeloma usually affects people ages 50 to 70.

Learn more about Myeloma

Sarcoma

These tumors can affect any part of your body including bones, joint tissue, muscles and blood vessels.

Learn more about Sarcoma

Spinal tumors

Spine tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous. They may grow near your spine, in your spinal cord or in the bones of your spine. The types of spinal tumors are intradural, metastatic and primary.

Intradural spinal tumors

Intradural spinal tumors start in the spinal cord, spinal fluid or the area outside the spine.

The most common spinal tumors are extramedullary (they begin outside the spine) such as:

  • Meningioma — usually noncancerous and starts in the tissue covering the spinal cord
  • Schwannomas — noncancerous tumors starting in nerve cells.

These spinal tumors start in the spine:

  • Astrocytoma — cancerous tumor of the brain cells that doesn’t usually spread
  • Ependymoma — cancerous tumor that starts in the central nervous system tissue
  • Hemangioblastoma — noncancerous tumor that starts in the spinal cord's blood vessels
Symptoms of intradural spine tumors include:
  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Sensory loss
  • Trouble walking
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of bladder and bowel functions

Metastatic spinal tumors

Spinal tumors that spread to the spine from other parts of the body are metastatic spinal tumors. They can result in fractures and compression of the spinal cord or nerves.

Primary spinal column tumors

These tumors originate within the spine and are quite rare. Primary spinal tumors can be noncancerous or cancerous.

Noncancerous primary spinal tumors include:

  • Osteoblastoma
  • Aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC)
  • Giant cell bone tumors

Cancerous primary spinal tumors include:

  • Osteosarcoma
  • Chondrosarcoma
  • Chordoma

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