Bone Cancer Symptoms: 10 warning signs you should never ignore!

Bone Cancer is a type of cancer that affects the bone tissue and is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer. It occurs due to excessive growth of unusual cells in the bones that can begin in any bone of the body but most commonly affects the pelvis or long bones of arms and legs. The tumour can either be Benign (Non-cancerous) which will not spread to other parts of the body but might weaken the bones and lead to broken bones, or Malignant (Cancerous) which might spread to other parts of the body and damage them as well.  

There are two ways that a person might get affected with Malignant Bone Cancer:  

1. Primary Bone Cancer – It forms in the Bone itself and is a very rare type 

2. Secondary Bone Cancer – It develops from the spread of cancer cells from other parts of the body to the Bones and is a usual type.  

Often, signs of bone cancer are misidentified as other medical conditions, which leads to a delay in diagnosis and treatment. Thus, it is essential to be aware of potential symptoms, and here we will identify possible indications of bone cancer that one should not ignore: 

Pain: It is one of the most common signs of Bone Cancer, the patient might suffer continuous and quite severe pains in the affected area, and these pains might get worse during the Night, which cannot be treated with over-the-counter painkillers. 

Difficulty moving: If a patient notices difficulties in moving a particular joint or a bone, then it can be an indication of Bone Cancer. Usually, this occurs with severe pain and swelling in the affected area. 

Swelling: If a patient detects swelling around a particular Bone along with Tenderness, Heat and Redness, it can be a sign of Bone Cancer. This can also make joint movement near the affected area difficult. 

Numbness or tingling: The presence of cancer cells in the bones can stress on the nerves leading to Numbness and tingling sensations. It also causes discomfort and might lead to weakness. 

Limping: A patient developing an unexplained limp can indicate Bone Cancer. This can be accompanied by pain and swelling in the affected area. 

Fractures: Bone cancer generally weakens the bones, making them very sensitive to fractures, any sudden injury or even a small accident can lead to significant damage. 

Fatigue: It is one of the most common symptoms of many diseases, and even for Bone Cancer. The patient might suffer extreme tiredness despite resting, which indicates the presence of Bone Cancer. 

Weight Loss: The patient might lose unexplained amounts of weight without even trying, this symptom can indicate Bone Cancer and must be considered seriously. 

Anaemia: It is a condition in which the body has an inadequate amount of red blood cells, it can cause Bone Cancer and might show itself through shortness of breath, weakness, and fatigue. 

Fever: If the patient suffers low-grade fever for a long time, it may indicate the presence of Bone Cancer. Even though fever is a common symptom of many other diseases, it is suggested not to ignore it and get examined immediately. 

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent Bone Cancer, there are certain steps an individual can take to reduce the risk of getting affected – Maintaining healthy lifestyle through regular exercising and balanced diet, quit smoking as it is one of the major risk factors for many types of cancers, regular check-ups can help in monitoring our overall health which helps in identifying any health issues and treating them at an early stage. 

However, if a patient experience any of the above mentioned symptoms, they should consult a doctor immediately. Although the symptoms are similar to various other diseases, it is safer to get examined early and undergo treatment in the case identified as Bone Cancer. 

BY: Dr. Amar Prem, Surgical Oncologist, HCG Cancer Centre Ranchi

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