Difference Between Bone Cancer and Leukemia

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Bone Cancer and Leukemia

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Cancer is arguably one of the most hated and feared illnesses. Worldwide, cancer claimed the lives of around 9.5 million people in 2018. It is ranked as the second most common cause of death by the World Health Organization. Statistics show that 1300 people die from cancer-related causes per day in India. These numbers are shocking and concerning. Over the past few decades, there has been a steady increase in the incidence of cancer. There are numerous varieties of cancer. The sickness in which a person's body begins to divide some cells incessantly and refuses to stop is collectively referred to as cancer. When no additional cells are required, these extra ones grow, invade nearby tissues, and can even transform into cancerous tumours. Such tumours may release cells that subsequently become cancers in other parts of the patient's body.

Cancer develops when a few of the body's cells proliferate unchecked and spread to other internal organs. Cancer, which may appear almost anywhere in the body's billions of cells, calls them home. When the body needs new cells, human cells divide frequently (through a process known as cell proliferation and multiplication). New ones take their place when cells die due to ageing or damage. This painstaking procedure can occasionally go wrong, allowing damaged or abnormal cells to proliferate when they shouldn't. From these cells, tissue lumps called tumours can develop. Malignant tumours may or may not be present (benign).  Invading nearby tissues, spreading to distant regions of the body, or both are possible for cancerous tumours (a process called metastasis). Cancerous tumours are also known as malignant tumours. Leukaemia and other blood malignancies rarely form solid tumours, but many other cancers do. Tumours that are not malignant do not infiltrate or spread to nearby tissues. Malignant tumours can recur after removal but benign tumours normally don't. However, benign tumours occasionally develop into very large masses. Some can have severe negative effects or can even be fatal, such as benign brain tumours.

Bone Cancer vs Leukaemia

The primary distinction between leukaemia and bone cancer is that the former develops in the bone marrow while the latter is a form of blood cancer. The former type of cancer is fatal, whereas the latter is more easily treated. While leukaemia has a better prognosis, the prognosis for bone cancer is nearly unfavourable.

Bone cancer develops when a bone cell divides uncontrolled and grows into a tumour. If the tumour is localised and does not spread to neighbouring tissues, it is considered benign. When a tumour metastasizes or spreads through the blood or lymph and infiltrates surrounding issues, it is considered malignant.

Leukaemia develops when the body's bone marrow overproduces abnormal white blood cells. Leukaemia typically causes the development of abnormal white blood cells, which fight infection. Subtle DNA alterations in leukaemia cells cause aberrant cell proliferation and the loss of typical white blood cell functions.

Difference between Bone Cancer and Leukaemia in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison     Bone Cancer       Leukaemia
DefinitionBone cancer first appears in uncontrolled bone cells.Leukaemia is the name for the neoplastic proliferative disorder of the white blood cells.
Affected AreaIt is a specific kind of bone cancer.The tissues that create blood are cancerous.
SymptomsIt produces severe discomfort in the damaged bone.The body's capacity to fend off infection is decreased.
PrognosisDifficultComparatively better with early diagnosis.
TreatmentA procedure or amputation.Chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation.

What is Bone Cancer?

Cancer that develops in the bones is known as bone cancer. It is a serious condition that affects the bones and is quite painful. This type of cancer develops when a bone cell divides uncontrollably and creates a tumour. The breast, prostate, lungs, thyroid, and kidneys are the most frequent locations for tumour cells that damage the bones but originate elsewhere in the body. When cells within a bone divide erratically, a lump or mass of aberrant tissue results. This condition is known as a bone tumour. Bone tumours are typically benign (not cancerous). The majority of the time, benign tumours do not pose a threat to life and do not spread to other bodily regions. There are numerous treatment methods available depending on the type of tumour, ranging from straightforward observation to tumour removal surgery. Several bone tumours are carcinogenic (cancerous). A malignant bone tumour has the potential to metastasise or spread cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery are virtually always used in the management of malignant tumours.

Bone tumours such as enchondroma, osteochondroma, and giant-cell tumours of the bone are benign (non-cancerous tumours) if they do not spread to surrounding tissues (GCTB or osteoclastoma). Additionally, a tumour is malignant if it attacks the tissues around it and spreads through the blood or lymph. Osteogenic sarcoma is an example of a primary malignant tumour. A secondary malignant tumour is one that originated elsewhere in the body and spread to the bone. Fibrosarcoma is an example of a secondary malignant tumour.

Making a precise prognosis for certain cancer forms is very difficult. In contrast to benign tumours, which can be surgically removed if they are causing symptoms, malignant tumours must be treated with radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery, albeit the complexity of these treatments may make them less effective. Amputation is an alternative that, if the disease-causing cells spread to other bones, will entirely cure the condition.

Diagnosis of Bone Cancer

Imaging examinations can be used to assess the size, location, and potential spread of bone cancers to other body regions. Your particular indications and symptoms will determine the best imaging test kinds. Testing might involve:

  • body scan
  • computer-aided imaging (CT)
  • imaging with magnetic resonance (MRI)
  • X-ray
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)

Causes of Cancer

In a multi-stage process that often goes from a pre-cancerous lesion to a malignant tumour, cancer develops when normal cells undergo a transition into tumour cells. These modifications are the outcome of interactions between a person's genetic factors and three different types of outside forces, such as:

  • Biological carcinogens include infections from specific viruses, bacteria, or parasites.
  • Physical carcinogens include UV and ionising radiation.
  • Chemical carcinogens include asbestos, tobacco smoke, alcohol, aflatoxin (a food contaminant), and arsenic (a drinking water pollutant).

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of WHO, maintains a classification of cancer-causing substances. Age-related risk accumulation for particular cancers is most likely the cause of the sharp rise in cancer incidence. In addition to the general risk accumulation, ageing people tend to have less efficient cellular repair systems.

Risk Factors

Cancer and other non-communicable illnesses are at risk from tobacco use, alcohol usage, poor diet, physical inactivity, and air pollution. Cancer risk factors can include some chronic infections; low- and middle-income nations are particularly affected by this. Globally, carcinogenic diseases such as Helicobacter pylori, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and Epstein-Barr virus were blamed for over 13% of cancer diagnoses in 2018. Some strains of HPV, as well as the hepatitis B and C viruses, raise the chance of developing liver and cervical cancer, respectively. HIV infection significantly raises the risk of some cancers, including Kaposi sarcoma, and increases the risk of acquiring cervical cancer by six times.

Treatment of Cancer

The most crucial aspects of cancer treatment are early detection and prompt medical attention. Early diagnosis makes the treatment easier and increases the likelihood of success. The three most popular treatment options are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery.

Surgery is used to remove the bulk from the body and, as a result, cancer if it is a benign tumour. In radiation therapy, we target and kill cancer cells specifically with radiation (rays). Similar to this is chemotherapy, which involves injecting the patient with medications that seek out and destroy cancer cells. However, there are a variety of negative effects to any treatment strategy. One of the most crucial components of cancer therapy is aftercare.

Our bodies are made up of billions of cells, and these cells are constantly proliferating, dying, and getting replaced in a controlled way. Cancer, however, arises when a cell suffers damage while dividing. A damaged cell could grow and duplicate excessively anywhere in the body, creating a tumour. If it persisted, it might infect the neighbouring tissues and spread to other parts of the body. Numerous malignancies that affect diverse body regions have emerged in the twenty-first century. Among these cancers include leukaemia and bone cancer (the cancer of the blood).

What is Leukaemia?

Leukaemia is a common bone marrow cancer. It is related to down syndrome and mostly affects young and elderly people in the US. The history of leukaemia, the various varieties of leukaemia, demographic data, genetic relationships, and treatments for each type of leukaemia will all be covered in this study. The precise cause of leukaemia is unknown. It is believed that both genetic and environmental (non-inherited) factors play a role. Risk factors include smoking, ionising radiation, a few chemicals (including benzene), prior chemotherapy, and Down syndrome. Additionally, those who have a history of the disease in their families are more at risk.

A proliferative neoplastic illness of white blood cells is called leukaemia. It is a specific type of blood cancer that starts in bone marrow stem cells. When it happens, the injured cells proliferate in the bone marrow and blood until they occupy all of the resources and available space. Blood is eaten when the bone marrow is no longer able to create enough functional cells. The lack of functional white blood cells impacts the immune system, increasing the likelihood of infections, as shown by the lack of red blood cells.

The blood must be cleared of leukemic cells before it can operate normally again. Chemotherapy is frequently used in place of surgery to eradicate malignant cells in the body because leukaemia is not a solid tumour. Another therapy option is bone marrow transplantation, which uses stem cells from the donor's bone marrow. Chemotherapy occasionally leads to the eradication of all the cells in the bone marrow, but it also has the unwanted side effect of killing both healthy and sick cells. To avoid the transplanted cells attacking the patient's cells as foreign invaders, bone marrow transplants are a difficult procedure that requires antigen compatibility between the donor and recipient.

Diagnosis of Leukaemia

The hipbone's liquid bone marrow is removed by a needle a bone marrow test pop-up dialogue box opens. Before symptoms appear, a regular blood test by the doctor may identify persistent leukaemia. If this occurs, or if you exhibit symptoms or signs that point to leukaemia, you could have one of the following diagnostic tests:

Physical examination: During this examination, your doctor will search for physical indications of leukaemia, such as pale skin from anaemia, swollen lymph nodes, and enlarged liver and spleen.

Blood tests: Using a blood sample, your doctor can determine whether your platelets, red blood cells, or white blood cells are abnormally high or low. These irregularities might be a sign of leukaemia. A blood test can still identify the existence of leukaemia cells even though not all types of leukaemia cause them to circulate in the blood. Sometimes leukaemia cells might stay in the bone marrow.

Bone marrow test: As part of a bone marrow test, your doctor can advise taking a sample of your bone marrow from your hipbone. Use of a lengthy, thin needle is used to extract the bone marrow. A lab receives the sample and analyses it for leukaemia cells. Your treatment options may change based on characteristics discovered by specialised investigations of your leukaemia cells.

Difference between Bone Cancer and Leukaemia In Points

  • While leukaemia is a disease of white blood cells and blood-forming organs, bone cancer is related to bone cells.
  • It makes the affected bone hurt. On the other side, it has an impact on the body's defences against infection.
  • Bone cancer has an extremely poor prognosis, but leukaemia may be treatable if detected early.
  • While bone cancer is usually treated with surgery or amputation, leukaemia can be treated with chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant.
  • Bone cancer commonly affects those under the age of 20 or over the age of 55. Leukaemia most frequently affects people under the age of 20 who are children and young adults.


Leukaemia can be treated with chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant, whereas bone cancer is typically treated with surgery or amputation. People under the age of 20 or those over the age of 55 are frequently affected by bone cancer. Children and young adults under the age of 20 are most commonly affected by leukaemia.



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"Difference Between Bone Cancer and Leukemia." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 19 Jul. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-bone-cancer-and-leukemia-874>.

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