Benign Bone Tumors

Benign bone tumors are bone tumors that are not cancerous. These tumors may cause pain that gets worse and not better. Some benign bone tumors may need treatment to stop them from destroying bone. Other noncancerous bone tumors may require no treatment at all.

What are benign bone tumors?

Most tumors that start in your bones are benign (not cancer). This means that benign tumors will not spread from their original site to a new location.

Tumors can form in any of the bones of your skeletal system and in any part of the bone. In general, the most common bones involved are also some of the largest: the femur, tibia, humerus, pelvis, spine and ribs.

Some types of tumors are most common in specific locations, such as the spine or near the growth plates in your hip, knee or shoulder.

What are some common types of benign bone tumors?

  • Enchondroma: This type of tumor starts in the cartilage. These tumors are found inside the bone, in the marrow space.
  • Osteochondroma: This type of tumor is made up of cartilage and bone and can get bigger while the skeleton is growing. These tumors grow outside the bone.
  • Non-ossifying fibroma: This bone tumor is the most common bone tumor found in children. They often go away on their own and are most commonly discovered incidentally on X-rays after an injury.
  • Chondroblastoma: This type of tumor is usually removed because its growth affects nearby joints. It’s found in children and can cause significant pain.
  • Osteoid osteoma: This type of tumor usually affects the long bones of the body and is more common in males. It can cause significant pain at nighttime due to hormone interaction and can be relieved with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).
  • Unicameral [simple] bone cysts (UBC): These tumors are generally found near growth plates and are often found when they weaken the bone enough to cause a fracture. Treatment is usually surgery to do a bone graft or add a sclerotherapy medication.

What are the symptoms of benign bone tumors?

  • An obvious swelling or lump.
  • Pain, possibly severe, that increases in intensity. It may hurt even when you’re resting.
  • Breaks or fractures due to bones made weaker by a growing bone tumor.

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