Imaging tests are used to localize the bone tumors and their sizes. The tests can also detect if the tumors have spread to other body parts. The types of investigation imaging should be done depending on the signs and symptoms of each individual.

  • Bone scan
  • Computerized tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • X-ray

Needle or surgical biopsies

Biopsy which is done by taking a sample of tissue from the tumor for further laboratory tests may be required.  This procedure will identify the cancerous tissue if it exists, it will also reveal the type of cancer the patient has as well as the speed of the tumor growth.

The following types of procedures are biopsy that is utilized to make a diagnosis of bone cancer.

  • A needle will be inserted into the tumor through the skin. It will then collect small pieces of tissues from the tumor.
  • A surgical biopsy is done by an incision on the skin and removal of the part of the tumor. Biopsy should be done in a way that it will not affect any surgery may or may happen in the future for the removal of cancer.

Stages of bone cancer

The stages of bone cancer are identified by the size and where the tumor is located. Determining the stages of bone cancer will determine the treatment options for the patient. The following factors will be considered:

  • Tumor size
  • The speed of the cancer growth
  • The amount of bones affected by cancer
  • Spread of the cancer to other parts of the body

Bone cancers are generally categorized into four stages:

  • Stage 1: Low-grade tumor while the cancer cells have not spread to other areas.
  • Stage 2: High-grade tumorbut the cancer cells are still localized.
  • Stage 3: High-grade with the spread of cancer to other areas but still in the same bone.
  • Stage 4: Cancer cell spreads from bone to other parts of body, such as breast or lungs.



Surgery is carried out with the objective of removing the entire tumor. This procedure requires special techniques so the tumor is removed out as a one complete piece, instead of multiple pieces. A tiny portion of healthy tissue surrounded the area is also removed. The bone that has been lost can be replaced with a bone from another part of the body or with a metal or hard plastic replacement.


Chemotherapy is the application of anti-cancer drugs. It is generally given intravenously. The medication aims to kill cancer cells.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is the use of high-powered beams of energy, similar to X-rays. The goal of radiation therapy is also to kill cancer cells. Using this therapy before a surgery can decrease the size of the tumor so it becomes easier to be removed. This reduces the chance of amputation.
Bone cancer that cannot be treated with surgery may require radiation therapy. For some post-operation cases, there are cancer cells that may still be lingered on, which can be cleared by radiation therapy. In advanced stage of bone cancer, radiation therapy can be used to control certain symptoms, such as pain.