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There is a number of different types of bone cancer. Pathology testing must be undertaken to indicate which type of tumour is found. The correct treatment can only be administered in accordance with the tumour type, grading and staging.

Osteosarcoma originates in the cells that make bones. These are most active at either end of a bone rather than in the middle; osteosarcoma tends also to form at bone ends. Benign osteomas are very rare. Less aggressive osteosarcomas include the bone surface type.

Less common types:

Chrondrosarcoma derived from the cells that make cartilage

Haemangiosarcoma from the cells that line blood vessels.

Fibrosarcoma from the connective tissue cells that wrap around bone.

Multilobular osteochondrosarcoma tends to occur on the skull and although it is malignant it is often surprisingly slow.

Metastatic bone cancer does not originate in the bone, they spread to the bone. It is more common in the middle of the bone than the end of the bone and there may be more than one bone affected. The cancers that commonly spread to the bone include:

Osteosarcoma will often spread from one bone to another, through the blood. It rarely invades across space (e.g. it would NOT typically move from the shin bone (proximal tibia) across the knee (stifle) joint to the thigh bone (distal femur), but would easily spread from the shin bone to the spine (vertebrae).

Carcinoma from cells that make organs or line the airways and intestine. Breast cancer (mammary carcinoma) commonly spreads to bones.

Multiple Myeloma from plasma cells, which are white blood cells that make antibodies. This cancer lives in the blood, the bones and the bone marrow. If localised, it is a plasma cell tumour (and benign). For more detailed information click here.


There are 8 classes of different tumour types within the brain. All are best diagnosed by MRI. CT is not ideal but often adequate. Xrays rarely are useful. Brain tumours are often more invasive than in people and surgery is typically not curative. The distinction between benign and malignant is less useful for tumours of the brain; even if a tumour doesn’t spread and grows fairly slowly (being ‘benign’), it will still crush the surrounding nerves leading to death or paralysis. The 4 most common types are:

Meningioma  formed from the meninges which are the cells that wrap around the brain.

Glial tumours  formed from the cells that surround and protect the nerve cells. Types include Astrocytoma, Oligodendroglioma, Oligoastrocytoma.

Immune system tumours  such as lymphoma, histiocytic sarcoma, neoplastic reticulosis.

Metastatic cancer any cancers that begin elsewhere in body. Most common are haemangiosarcoma and carcinoma.

For more detailed information, click here.

To see a video of brain tumour removal


Mammary Tumours that develop from the breast gland tissue itself are adenomas (benign) and carcinomas (malignant). A single tumour can have both types present.

Malignant tumours include:

Carcinoma There are many types of breast carcinoma based on the appearance under the microscope and these differences are important to working out how the cancer will behave. An oncologist can advise you based on the pathology report.  For more detailed information on mammary carcinoma.

Carcinosarcoma has malignant carcinoma cells AND malignant connective tissue cells. It is likely some of the carcinoma cells change into a connective tissue appearance.

Benign tumours include:

Adenoma  a simple/complex/basaloid, from the gland itself.

Fibroadenoma from the gland, with a non-cancerous fibrous / connective tissue component.

Benign mixed

Duct papilloma  are from the cells that line the milk ducts within the gland.


Benign tumours include

Adenoma – simple/complex/basaloid, from the gland itself

Fibroadenoma – from the gland, with a non-cancerous fibrous/ connective tissue component

Benign mixed

Duct papilloma – from the cells that line the milk ducts within the gland