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The bones

A typical healthy person has over 200 bones, which:

  • support and protect internal organs
  • are attached to muscles to allow movement
  • contain bone marrow, which makes and stores new blood cells
  • store proteins, minerals and nutrients, such as calcium.

Bone structure

Bones are made up of different parts, including a hard outer layer (known as cortical bone) and an inner core (known as trabecular bone). The bone marrow is found in this inner core. Cartilage is the tough material at the end of each bone that allows one bone to move against another at a joint.

Image of the components of a human bone

Bones of the body

Bones commonly affected by primary bone cancer include the spine, ribs, pelvis and upper bones of the arms (humerus) and legs (femur).

Image of the human skeleton

Featured resources

Sarcoma (Bone and soft tissue tumours) - Your guide to best cancer care

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Understanding Primary Bone Cancer

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This information is reviewed by

This information was last reviewed January 2023 by the following expert content reviewers: Prof Peter Choong AO, Orthopaedic Surgeon, and Sir Hugh Devine Professor, St Vincent’s Hospital, and Head of Department of Surgery, The University of Melbourne, VIC; Catherine Chapman, Adolescent and Young Adult and Sarcoma Cancer Specialist Nurse, Division of Cancer and Ambulatory Support, Canberra Hospital, ACT; A/Prof Paul Craft AM, Medical Oncologist, Canberra Hospital and Australian National University, ACT; Belinda Fowlie, Bone Tumour Nurse Practitioner Candidate, SA Bone and Soft Tissue Tumour Unit, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Prof Angela Hong, Radiation Oncologist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, and Clinical Professor, The University of Sydney, NSW; Vicki Moss, Nurse Practitioner, SA Bone and Soft Tissue Tumour Unit, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; A/Prof and Dr Marianne Phillips, Paediatric and Adolescent Oncologist and Palliative Care Physician, Perth Children’s Hospital, WA; Chris Sibthorpe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland; Stephanie Webster, Consumer.