Bone & Soft Tissue Cancers

Sarcoma is a type of cancer that begins in bone or soft tissues, such as cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels and fibrous tissue. Sarcoma is a relatively rare form of cancer.

Bone Cancer

Tumors can originate in any type of bone cells, and they can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancer). 

Bone cancers can also be:

Primary: These are cancers that originate in the bone.

Metastatic: These are cancers that start in other parts of the body — such as the lung, breast, or prostate — and spread to the bone. Metastatic cancers in the bone are more common than primary bone cancers.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Soft tissue sarcoma is a cancer that starts in soft tissues of the body, including muscle, tendons, fat, lymph vessels, blood vessels, nerves, and tissue around joints. The tumors can be found anywhere in the body but often form in the arms, legs, chest, or abdomen.

Sarcoma Facts

Approximately 12,000 cases of soft tissue sarcoma and 3,000 cases of bone sarcomas are diagnosed annually in the United States.

Sarcoma Types

There are many different types of bone and soft tissue cancers, and they include:

  • Adamantinoma
  • Angiosarcoma
  • Chondrosarcoma
  • Chordoma
  • Ewing’s sarcoma
  • Fibrosarcoma
  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Liposarcoma
  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH)
  • Malignant fibrous tumors of bone
  • Malignant lymphomas of bone
  • Malignant schwannoma (Neurofibrosarcoma)
  • Metastatic bone cancer
  • Myeloma Bone Disease/Multiple Myeloma
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Synovial sarcoma
  • Undifferentiated sarcoma

Risk Factors

The exact cause of most bone and soft tissue cancers is unknown. Some bone cancers are associated with genetic or inherited conditions. Some soft tissue cancers are associated with inherited syndromes, exposure to radiation, damage to the body’s lymph system and exposure to certain chemicals. Most people who develop bone cancers, however, do not have any known risk factors.


Avoiding exposure to risk factors can help reduce the risk of developing soft tissue cancers, but there are no known lifestyle changes that can prevent bone cancer.