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How To Spot Bone Cancer Symptoms?

Healthy bones help to prevent bone fractures. But bones too can get affected by some diseases like bone cancer. Cancer, the word itself sounds deadly and when it comes with bones, it can turn into a matter of great worry. The worst thing is that those who suffer from bone cancer, are not even able to detect the bone cancer symptoms.

Bone cancer, also known as Osteosarcoma is not a common type of cancer. It hardly spreads to other parts of the body like other types of cancers. Bone cancer can be of two types, primary, and secondary bone cancer. 

Let us dig deeper to understand more about Osteosarcoma cancer and bone cancer symptoms.

What is Osteosarcoma Cancer?

Osteosarcoma or bone cancer is cancer that affects your bones. Starting from regular bone cells, cancer cells in this type of cancer generate irregular and immature bones. Osteosarcoma is generally seen in the long bones of arms and legs. It is most commonly found in teenagers of age 15 to 19. As compared to other types of cancers, bone cancer is rare and most of the tumors in the bone are benign and don’t spread to other body parts. 

Types of Bone Tumors

Listed below are some common types of bone tumors:

1. Osteochondroma

This is the most common type of bone tumor that affects people under the age of 20. 

2. Osteoblastoma

It is a rare type of bone tumor that grows in long bones and spines. 

3. Osteoid Osteoma

 This bone tumor affects the long bones in people in their early 20s.

4. Enchondroma

This bone tumor affects the feet and hands. It usually shows no symptoms.

5. Giant Cell Tumor

 This bone tumor usually affects the leg. In only rare cases, it becomes cancerous and fatal. 

Types of Bone Cancer

1. Primary Bone Cancer

Primary bone cancer is classified into four main types:

2. Osteosarcoma

This is the most common type of bone cancer that affects the new bone tissues. It is commonly seen in children and teenagers. The areas affected by osteosarcoma are the arms and legs. 

3. Chondrosarcoma

This type of bone cancer starts in a soft connective tissue called cartilage. It is found in legs, arms, and pelvis bones. It is usually seen in adults more than in teenagers.

4. Ewing Sarcoma

This type of sarcoma is benign and forms in the soft tissues or bones around soft tissues. It is mostly found in the shoulder blades, hips, and ribs. Sometimes, it is also found in the long bones like legs.

5. Chordoma

This is a rare type of bone cancer that grows in the spine region. It is also seen in adults more than in children or teenagers. Moreover, women tend to suffer from it more than men. 

6. Secondary Bone Cancer

A bone tumor in any other part of the body is considered secondary bone cancer. Any bone cancer that spreads to other parts of the body is called secondary bone cancer like lung cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.

Bones Affected by Bone Cancer

Osteosarcoma generally affects the following bones:

  • The Femur or the Thigh Bone
  • The Tibia or the Shin Bone
  • The Humerus or the Upper Arm Bone


Osteosarcoma Causes

Experts are not able to detect the exact causes of osteosarcoma. However, they find there are some links between certain factors that may lead to bone cancer. Such as getting too much exposure to harmful radiation during the treatment of other types of cancers. Secondly, bone cancer may pass on from one generation to another, as a hereditary disease. But, this happens only in rare cases. 

Osteosarcoma Symptoms

Some common symptoms of a bone tumor or bone cancer are:

  • Pain in the affected area
  • Painful nights
  • Pain worsens when you are active
  • Achy and shooting pain
  • Fatigue
  • Limping
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Fevers
  • Swelling around the affected bone


Bone Cancer Diagnosis

First of all, your doctor will ask for your medical history and symptoms. This will then be followed by a physical examination. After that the following tests can be performed to diagnose Osteosarcoma:

1. X-Rays

Bone tumors and their accurate size gets easily detected in X-Rays. 

2. CT Scans

This is a more detailed X-Ray done using a computer to get more detailed pictures of the bone tumor. 

3. MRI Scans

In this diagnosis, a strong magnet is used to see the inside picture of your body and bones.

4. Bone Scans

In this scanning, radioactive material is inserted into your veins and gets collected in your bones. Then a scanner detects the presence of a bone tumor in your bones. 

5. PET Scans

In this method, radioactive glucose is injected into your veins. Then, a scanner spots the cancer cells. 

The Bottom Line

Detecting bone cancer in its early stage by knowing about bone cancer symptoms will help you get the best treatment. In case of a benign tumor of the bones, your doctor will try treating it through medications. However, if the tumor is likely to spread to other parts of the body, you may need advanced treatment like chemotherapy, surgery, and amputation.


What are the early warning signs of bone cancer? 

Some of the early warning signs of bone cancer are:

1. Fatigue
2. Sudden Weight Loss
3. Bone Pain
4. Weak Bones and Frequent Fractures
5. Swelling or Tenderness around the Affected Area

Where does bone cancer usually start?

Osteosarcoma or bone cancer usually starts at the place where new bone tissues are forming. It is most commonly found at the ends of leg and arm bones or any large bone. 

What is the survival rate of bone cancer?

The survival rate of bone cancer depends on the stage of cancer. 90% of bone cancer patients survive for 5 years after the first detection of bone cancer. The survival rate is approximately 75% for regional SEER Stage bone cancer patients and 23% for distant SEER Stage bone cancer patients. 

How do you check for bone cancer?

Bone cancer or Osteosarcoma can be first detected through an X-ray examination. This is done if there is a doubt of a bone tumor. The X-ray report will show it as a hole in the bone if there is Osteosarcoma.

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