The human body contains over 200 bones of different shapes and sizes.
Bone is a living tissue made up of calcium and various proteins that make the bone strong and rigid. It also contains living cells which continuously break down and remove old bone, replacing it with new bone to maintain the bone's strength.
Each bone consists of a compact outer shell and a spongy inside. The inside contains the bone marrow, which produces blood cells.
The joints of the bones are covered in cartilage – a tough, flexible material, rather like gristle. Cartilage is more stretchy than bone, and it allows the bones to move freely at the joints. It also cushions the bones at the joint to stop them rubbing against each other.
The bones have several important functions.
Although a secondary bone cancer can occur in any bone in the body, the most commonly affected bones are those of the spine, ribs, pelvis, skull, and the upper bones of the arms (humerus) and the legs (femur).