A musculoskeletal tumour is an abnormal growth that may occur in bone or in soft tissue such as muscle, tendon, nerve, fat and blood vessels. Tumours can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). They can occur in people of all ages and can affect any part of the body.


Benign bone tumours almost never metastasize and are often classified based on the matrix which the tumour cells produce such as bone, cartilage, fibrous tissue, fat or blood vessel. Some of these tumours can be described as ‘aggressive’ because they may recur locally after removal. Soft tissue tumours develop in connective tissue other than bone such as the skeletal muscle, fat, tendon, fibrous tissue and nerve and blood vessel tissue. They can occur anywhere in the body but are most frequent in the lower extremities, trunk and abdomen and upper extremities. Benign soft tissue tumours rarely metastasize.


Malignant bone tumours are a group of lesions that vary in their tissue makeup and behaviour and range from locally aggressive tumours that usually do not metastasize to high grade sarcomas with a poor prognosis. Treatment is extremely aggressive in nature usually involving one or more of the following: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery (resection) and bone marrow (stem cell) transplants.

Malignant soft tissue tumours, or soft tissue sarcomas, are more common than bone sarcomas. They usually occur in adults and are present as a large painless or painful soft tissue mass. Bone and soft tissue sarcomas are among the rarest malignant tumours treated. The doctor will assess the kind of treatment you need based on your several parameters.