Bone cancer signs can be very subtle especially in its early stages. Being sensitive to the early warning signs of bone cancer can help a lot in arresting the cancer as soon as possible. Bone cancer can be treated better when diagnosed early. The treatment choices are numerous when the cancer is uncovered in its formative stages. Primary bone cancers are less common compared to cancers that metastasized to the bones. Primary bone cancers like osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma are cancers that originated from the bone itself and are caused by malignant bone cells. Secondary bone cancers on the other hand are cancers that came from the other organs in the body which spread to the bones in its last stages. Many are confused of these cancer classifications. To make it very clear, secondary bone cancers are labeled through its original or primary cancer. A prostate cancer that metastasized to the bone is called a metastatic prostate cancer and will be treated as such and not as a bone cancer.
What Are The Signs of Bone Cancer?
The signs of bone cancer can easily be felt by the patient. These can also be observed by doctors with ease. By considering these symptoms together with patient risk factors, bone cancer can be detected fast and easy.
- Bone pain – pain in the bones is one of the early signs of bone cancer. Bone pain felt by patients are often nagging even if it is not as pronounced. The pain is also often described as deep inside the bone. Children who are suffering from bone cancer are known to lose sleep because of the pain. Bone pain due to the cancer is also progressive. It gets worse over time and is often the one symptom that can push people to visit their doctors.
- Fractures – a bone fracture is a harrowing prospect on its own. But with bone cancer, fractures can be more common that a simple slip can already cause bone breakage. The growing cancer inside the bone is making it weak and fragile that minor impacts that could not have caused fractures before can easily snap bones into two. This symptom gets worse with time too.
- Localized swelling – the area where the bone pain is felt is often accompanied by swelling. When these two are together (pain and swelling), a quick visit to the doctor’s office might be necessary.
- Localized lump – a lump that develops in the affected bone can signify a malignant tumor growth. This often means that the cancer is in its middle or late stages. The cancer already secured a considerable hold in the bone structure providing itself a steady supply of blood for the cancerous tumor. The lump, swelling, and pain are a combination of signs that raises multiple red flags for doctors.
- Fever and night sweating – these symptoms are not as common as the others. This is often accompanied by chills. Other uncommon warning sign of bone cancer is weight loss.
The signs and symptoms of bone cancer can be observed in people from different age groups that are seen to be more susceptible to the disease (teens, young adults and middle aged individuals). The signs of bone cancer in children are the same with bone cancers that are more common in older people such as in the case of chonodrosarcoma or fibrosarcoma. Signs of bone marrow cancer is also identical to the normal bone cancer signs. Bone cancers in different parts of the body can also exhibit the same set of symptoms such as pain, swelling, and the presence of a lump. Bone cancer in leg might have some very identical signs with bone cancer in the jaw bone, shoulder, hips, or pelvis.