Difference Between Bone Cancer and Leukemia (With Table)

Our bodies are made up of billions of cells, and these cells are constantly dividing, dying, and being replaced in a controlled way. But cancer happens when a cell gets damaged while dividing, and the damaged cell might start to grow and multiply too much to form a tumor anywhere in the body. If this continues, then it can grow into nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body.

Different kinds of cancer have evolved, concerning different parts of the body in the 21st century. Two of these kinds of cancer are Bone cancer and Leukemia (the cancer of the blood).

Bone Cancer vs Leukemia

The difference between Bone cancer and Leukemia is that bone cancer takes place in the bones while leukemia is a type of blood cancer that includes bone marrow. The former is a deadly sort of cancer, while the latter is relatively manageable. The prognosis is almost unfavorable in the case of bone cancer, but leukemia has a better prognosis.

Bone cancer happens when a cell in bone divides uncontrollably and forms a tumor. If the tumor remains confined and does not spread into surrounding tissues, then it is considered benign. But if the tumor invades into surrounding issues and metastasizes or spreads through blood or lymph, then it is considered malignant.

Leukemia occurs when malignant white blood cells multiply inside the body’s bone marrow. Usually, leukemia involves the production of abnormal white blood cells that are responsible for combatting infection. Leukemia cells have quite mutations in their DNA that cause them to grow abnormally and lose functions of typical white blood cells.

Comparison Table Between Bone Cancer and Leukemia

Parameters of ComparisonBone CancerLeukemia
Bone cancer begins in the cells of the bone that are unmanageable.Leukemia is the neo-plastic proliferative disorders of the white blood cells.
Affected areaIt is the cancer of bone.It is the cancer of blood-forming tissues.
SymptomIt causes excessive pain in the afflicted bone.It hinders the body’s ability to combat infection.
PrognosisDifficult Relatively better when diagnosed on time
Treatment MethodSurgery or amputationChemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation
Common age groupChildren and adolescents under 20People under 20 or over 55

What is Bone Cancer?

Bone cancer is cancer that eventuates in the bones. It is a pernicious illness and quite painful as it is concerned with bones. This type of cancer happens when a cell in bone grows out of control to divide and forms a tumor. The most common sources of tumor cells that affect the bones but start somewhere else in the body are the breast, prostate, lungs, thyroid, and kidneys.

If the bone tumor does not spread into adjusting tissues, then it is benign (non-cancerous tumor) in nature, for example, enchondroma, osteochondroma, giant-cell tumor of the bone (GCTB or osteoclastoma). And if the tumor attacks those encircling tissues and spreads through blood or lymph, then it is malignant. Malignant tumors can be primary which is when they arise from the bone cells, for example, osteogenic-sarcoma, or secondary which is when a tumor developed somewhere else in the body, and spread to the bone, for example, fibrosarcoma.

These types of cancer are quite intractable to make an accurate prognosis. Benign tumors can be surgically removed if they are causing symptoms, while the treatment for malignant tumors requires radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery through these therapies might respond poorly as per the complexity. Alternative for the same can be amputation which will cure the disease completely if the canceled cells propagate to other bones.

What is Leukemia?

Leukemia is a neo-plastic disorder of white blood cells proliferative. It is a type of blood cancer that begins in stem cells found in the bone marrow. When it occurs, the damaged cells reproduce in the blood and the bone marrow until they cover all available space and resources. When the bone marrow cannot produce a sufficient amount of functional cells anymore, the blood gets consumed. The lack of red blood cells portrays that the dearth of functional white blood cells affects the immune system enhancing the risk of infections.

To restore the normal function of the blood, leukemic cells have to be taken out. As leukemia is not a solid tumor, thus, cells are killed inside the body using many treatments like chemotherapy instead of surgery. Another method is bone marrow transplantation that comes in the form of stem cells from the bone marrow of a donor.

But chemotherapy has the side effect of killing healthy cells along with the damaged cells, and sometimes it leads to the destruction of all the cells in the bone marrow. Also, bone marrow transplants are a complicated process requiring antigen compatibility between the donor and recipient to keep the transplanted cells from attacking the patient’s cells as foreign bodies.

Main Differences Between Bone Cancer and Leukemia

  1. Bone cancer is related to the cells of bone while Leukemia is the cancer of blood-forming tissues involving white blood cells.
  2. It causes pain in the afflicted bone. On the other hand, it affects the body’s ability to fight against infection.
  3. The prognosis of bone cancer is very difficult, but that of leukemia is possible when diagnosed on time.
  4. Bone cancer is chiefly treated with surgery or amputation while leukemia can be treated with chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation.
  5. Bone cancer is commonly diagnosed in people under 20 or above 55. Leukemia mostly affects people under 20, especially children.


Cancer has grown as the most common death-causing disease around the world. Despite enormous advances in science and medicine, cancer is one of the most frightening diagnoses patients experience. It is a group of over a hundred diseases occurring in different types of cells which makes it almost unlikely to be curable.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09553002.2010.537430
  2. https://jnccn.org/view/journals/jnccn/8/6/article-p688.xml?print
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