Bone cancer treatments and therapies

Treatment for bone cancer varies greatly from person to person. Your medical team may use any combination of surgery, chemotherapy, embolization, radiation, or even new immunotherapies to treat or control your cancer.

Treatments and therapy types for bone cancer

Provider showing man test resultsSurgery

In general, surgery is the main treatment for primary bone cancer. Most of the time, surgery spares limbs. That means the tumor is removed and the bone is reinforced with metal plates, screws, cement, or donor bone (allograft). In more advanced cases or when treatment options are limited, an entire part of a limb is removed and replaced with a prosthesis.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy (radiotherapy) uses X-rays and other types of medical radiation aimed at specific parts of the body. The radiation kills cancer cells, prevents cancer cells from developing or recurring, and improves many of cancer’s symptoms. For certain cancers, radiation therapy is combined with chemotherapy and called chemo-radiotherapy.


Chemotherapy uses drugs that slow down, damage, or kill cancer cells. It may involve single drugs or combinations of drugs taken intravenously or by mouth. Chemotherapy is often taken in cycles lasting three or four weeks each. Your team may also prescribe drugs to reduce or eliminate chemotherapy’s side effects.


All tumors need a rich supply of blood to grow. Embolization closes one or more blood vessels that may be feeding a tumor. The goal is to shrink or slow the tumor’s growth. Embolization may be combined with chemotherapy.


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