What is bone marrow cancer?

Gary J. Schiller, MD
Hematology & Oncology
The bone marrow is one of the largest organs in the body, making billions of cells every day. These cells include red blood cells to carry oxygen, many types of white blood cells to fight infection and platelets to clot the blood. Most of these cells circulate in the blood, but some go to lymph nodes and other sites to manage infection. Many of these cells have the potential to become malignant, and the malignancies are named after the cell of origin. For example, a common cancer involving the bone marrow is acute myeloid leukemia (ALM). The cell of origin is a cell that would, if it had matured normally, been destined to become a white blood cell intended to fight infection. This type of cancer may be induced by exposures to toxins, chemicals, radiation and even drugs used to treat other malignancies.

Bone marrow cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the blood-forming stem cells of the bone marrow (soft sponge-like tissue in the center of most bones). Bone marrow cancer includes leukemias and multiple myeloma.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.  

Continue Learning about Musculoskeletal Cancers

Musculoskeletal Cancers

Cancers of the musculoskeletal system affects our bodys muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, joints and cartilage.For unknown reasons, cells that help us form our muscles, bones and connective tissues become damaged, leading to sev...

eral cancers of this system, which helps us move our bodies. Many of these diseases are more common in children than adults. Rhabdomyosarcoma (pronounced RAB-doh-MY-oh-sar-KOH-muh) causes cancerous tumors to develop in the head, neck, bladder and reproductive organs. The Ewing Family of Tumors (EFTs) cause rare cancers of the bone and soft tissues found in our arms, legs, head, neck and trunk. The most common type of bone cancer, osteosarcoma weakens the connective tissues and minerals that give our bones strength. Most musculoskeletal cancers are rare but can be difficult to treat. Early detection is key to improving your outcome. See your doctor if you or your child have a lump that grows or does not disappear, find blood in your urine or have bone pain.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.