Signs and symptoms of bone cancer


Bone cancer is an extremely rare form of cancer, making up only 1% of all cancer cases. Most tumors found in bones turn out to be non-cancerous. They can be found in any bone in the body, but they are most likely to occur in the pelvis and long bones of the arms and legs.

Types of Bone Cancer

There are three main types of bone cancer:

  • Osteosarcoma – primary form of bone cancer found in children and young adults.
  • Ewing Sarcoma – secondary form of bone cancer found in children and young adults. Occurs around the pelvis, legs, or arms.
  • Chondrosarcoma – primary form of bone cancer found in adults.

There are also some less common types of bone cancer such as chordoma, spindle cell sarcoma of the bone, adamantinoma, angiosarcoma of the bone, giant cell tumor of the bone, and ameloblastoma (which is actually a non-cancerous tumor).

Symptoms of bone cancer

Most common symptoms of bone cancer include:

  • bone pain,
  • swelling,
  • problems with moving around.

Pain will usually get worse when in bed at night, and might be what we call referred pain, meaning that it travels along the nerves and makes one feel pain outside of the tumor. It is also important to note that painkillers will not help with this type of pain. When it comes to swelling, you might notice a lump forming in the affected area. If the tumor is in your lower body, you might notice a limp, or a general problem with walking.

Other symptoms of bone cancer

Some less common symptoms of bone cancer include:

  • fatigue,
  • fever,
  • weakened bones,
  • weight loss.

Bone cancer causes

It has not been determined what actually causes bone cancer. However, some risk factors are known, the first being genetics. Also, a history of retinoblastoma (an eye cancer) and Li-Fraumeni syndrome both increase the likelihood of getting bone cancer. Paget’s disease of bones, and previous chemo or radiotherapy can increase the risk of bone cancer too.

Author: Julia Kubiak


We cannot successfully fight against cancer without the support of our Donors.


Need help?

Oncological patients often struggle not only with the disease, but also with serious financial problems.