Bone Cancer Risk Factors


Bone cancer occurs more frequently in children and young adults whose bones are still growing or have only recently stopped growing.

Previous Treatment for Cancer

Bone cancer is more common in people who have had radiation therapy or chemotherapy for other conditions, including other types of cancer.


A small number of bone cancers are due to heredity. For example, children with hereditary retinoblastoma (an uncommon cancer of the eye) are at a higher risk of developing osteosarcoma.

Another hereditary condition that may increase bone cancer risk is Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a disorder caused by a mutation in the p53 tumor suppressor gene.

Other types of hereditary syndromes that have been linked to particular forms of bone cancer include Rothmund-Thomson syndrome, multiple exostoses syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis.

Paget’s Disease

Adults with Paget’s disease may be at increased risk for osteosarcoma. This noncancerous condition is marked by abnormal development of new bone cells,. Bones affected by Paget’s disease are heavier and thicker than normal bones but also weaker and more likely to fracture.

Most people who develop bone cancer (95 percent) don’t have any obvious risk factors. While scientists are not certain what causes bone cancer, there are factors that may increase a person’s risk.