Bone Cancer Symptoms: What To Watch For?
What is bone cancer? This type of cancer forms in bones through mutated and deformed bone-building cells. These malignant cells begin to form a mass as they rapidly multiply. As the tumor grows the bone structure also starts to deteriorate from the inside and this causes pain and other symptoms. It is important to know about the symptoms of bone cancer because this knowledge can help patients and doctors to uncover the disease before it gets worse. Often times when the cancer begins to spread to other parts of the body it is too late for many treatments to make a difference. It can fail to buy the patient more time to live a longer and a more comfortable life with the cancer.
What Are The Symptoms of Bone Cancer?
What are the symptoms to watch out for? This is perhaps the most common question people ask about bone cancer. It is important to have an idea of the common symptoms of bone cancer so that you can act on it as soon as possible. Early intervention in bone cancer can make all the difference.
- Bone pain – bone pain is one of the most common early symptoms of bone cancer. However arthritis, strained muscle or a simple sprain can cause similar pain. So what kind of pain should you watch out for? The pain from bone cancer often begins in tolerable levels. It is very subtle at first but it gets worse overtime – even if you are already in pain medications. The pain can also be nagging and can cause you to lose sleep. This pain is often felt in arm, in back, or in shoulder. These areas are known “hot spots” of the disease.
- Suspicious fractures – A bone cancer in leg or hip can lead to more fractures in that specific part of the body. As the cancer is attacking the bones it is also making it weak. It is more prone to fractures that even the most minor slips can cause your bones to break.
- Swelling – the area where the bone pain is localized can show signs of swelling and tenderness. This sign should be taken seriously especially when felt together with a persistent bone pain.
- Presence of a lump – A lump in the bone where the pain originates can also be observed. This lump is the tumor that is growing fast in the surface of the bone.
- Weight loss – this kind of weight loss is often unintended or unexplained.
- Tiredness – unexplained fatigue or tiredness can also be a telltale sign of bone cancer when considered together with the other bone cancer symptoms discussed so far.
These signs and symptoms of bone cancer may not be alarming when felt individually. But when a number of these symptoms (not necessarily all) are felt or observed all at the same time this can point to bone cancer. If you suspect this, do not delay going to your doctor immediately.
Are You At Risk of Developing Bone Cancer?
There are some risk factors that might expose you to bone cancer. Here are some factors that might help you connect the possibility of the presence of cancer in your body.
- Radiation therapy – If you had cancer in the past and you were subjected to intense radio therapy then you are at a great risk of developing bone cancer. The bone cancer that you can end up having from too much radiation exposure does not have to be a secondary bone cancer. It can be an entirely new cancer, this time the culprit is a mutated bone cell.
- Hereditary conditions – there are some hereditary conditions like Li-Fraumeni syndrome that can expose you to the risk of the developing bone cancer.
- Other health conditions – diseases such as Paget’s bone disease can often lead to the development of bone cancer. If you have this condition and you have some of the bone cancer symptoms do not delay seeing your doctor.
What to do when you suspect having bone cancer symptoms?
The best thing you should do is to see your doctor immediately. Consider the symptoms and the risk factors. Be a keen observer of your own body and what it is feeling. If you are increasingly worried, just go to your doctor to settle your fear once and for all. Remember that bone cancer can be treated best when discovered early. Use the knowledge you have about the disease and its symptoms to push yourself to consult a medical professional when it really matters. A general practitioner may be able to help you sort out the symptoms at first but there are also specialists that are well versed with bone cancer such as an oncologist, orthopedic oncologist, or a radiation oncologist. It does not matter if you have a bone cancer in hip, in ribs, or in foot, a specialist can provide you with a sound diagnosis that can lead to an effective intervention.
Diagnosing the disease: knowing for sure
A specialist might subject you to the following tests:
These tests can help doctors and specialists know if you do have the cancer or not. If you have the cancer these tests can help them form the right treatment approach for your case. There is really no single treatment path for different cancer cases. The success of the treatment would depend on the timeliness of the discovery of the cancer (knowing the red flags yourself can definitely help), knowing for sure the location of the tumor, and how far the disease have progressed upon discovery.
The Good News of Modern Medicine
A jaw bone cancer or a bone cancer in hip or in the pelvis can be helped when you are vigilant about the symptoms of the disease. Your best weapon is awareness. The good news about bone cancer treatment today is that it is increasingly getting better in fighting the disease especially when detected early. Know your risks (everybody is at risk of developing cancer one way or another) and use that knowledge to make sure you do the right thing when even the slightest symptom of bone cancer shows up.