Background Bone tumours are comparatively rare tumours and delays in diagnosis and treatment are common. The purpose of this study was to analyse sociodemographic risk factors for bone tumour patients in order to identify those at risk of prolonged patients delay (time span from first symptoms to consultation), professional delay (from consultation to treatment) or symptom interval (from first symptoms to treatment). Understanding these relationships might enable us to shorten time to diagnosis and therapy. Methods We carried out a retrospective analysis of 265 patients with bone tumours documenting sociodemographic factors, patient delay, professional delay and symptom interval. A multivariate explorative Cox model was performed for each delay. Results Female gender was associated with a prolonged patient delay. Age under 30 years and rural living predisposes to a prolonged professional delay and symptom interval. Conclusion Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are required for successful management of most bone tumour patients. We succeeded in identifying the histology independent risk factors of age under 30 years and rural habitation for treatment delay in bone tumour patients. Knowing about the existence of these risk groups age under 30 years and female gender could help the physician to diagnose bone tumours earlier. The causes for the treatment delays of patients living in a rural area have to be investigated further. If the delay initiates in the lower education of rural general physicians, further training about bone tumours might advance early detection. Hence the outcome of patients with bone tumours could be improved.