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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Bone cancer symptoms

Several symptoms may emerge as bone cancer develops and grows, with pain being the most frequent symptom. While it may occur in any bone in the body, bone cancer occurs most often in the long bones of the arms and legs.

Many bone cancer symptoms may also be caused by conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis or injury. If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you should discuss them with your doctor in order to identify the cause and receive the correct treatment, if necessary.

cancer symptoms

Bone cancer symptoms

Possible symptoms of bone cancer include:

  • Bone pain: Pain is the most common sign of bone cancer, and may become more noticeable as the tumor grows. Bone pain can cause a dull or deep ache in a bone or bone region (e.g., back, pelvis, legs, ribs, arms). Early on, the pain may only occur at night, or when you are active. As the cancer develops, though, the pain may become more persistent. Other conditions, like osteoporosis or arthritis, may also cause bone or joint pain.
  • Swelling: The area where the pain is localized may begin to show signs of swelling, or a lump or mass may be present.
  • Fractures: Cancerous cells can weaken the bone, and this may sometimes result in a fracture. The break may occur in an area of the bone that had previously been sore or painful for a period of time.
  • Decreased mobility: In some cases, if the location of the tumor is near a joint, it may make normal movements difficult or painful.
  • Other symptoms: Unintended weight loss and fatigue that accompanies bone pain may be a sign of bone cancer. Other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, may develop if the cancer has spread to other organs.

Last Revised: 06/01/2018

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