Early Signs of Bone Cancer

Bone cancer, the Mayo Clinic reports, is not one of the more common forms of cancer. Other cancers may metastasize to or spread to the bones, but these are named for the location of their origins. Bone cancer starts inside the bones, but not in the blood cell-producing marrow. There are several forms of bone cancer, the Mayo Clinic states, some of which occur more often in adults and others more often in children. Bone cancer generally starts in the legs or arms.


It may be hard to tell the difference between pain in your bones and pain in the joints that connect them or the muscles that surround them. Bone pain is a deeper feeling of pain, as if from deeper inside your body. Your muscles, joints and bones all may be bruised from being injured, but if you experience a deep pain, primarily in your legs or arms that continues for a while, consult your physician.


Both tenderness and swelling can occur with bone cancer. It typically happens near the area where the cancer is forming. If you have swelling or tenderness of an area of your body–again, most often in your limbs–that is unexplainable by injuries or other causes, it could be an early sign of bone cancer.


As the cancer cells multiply in your bones, they replace the healthy bone cells. This can make your bones much weaker than they normally are, which can lead to breaking your bones. Most people do not experience such fractures from minor or moderate injuries, so a bone fracture under unusual circumstances may be an early symptom of the cancer.

Weight Loss and Fatigue

Many forms of cancer cause symptoms such as fatigue and weight loss. These problems also may be caused by many other things, including other diseases and medications. However, if you have not started taking any new medication and, at the same time, have not been particularly active, but still you feel fatigued, this may be an early sign of bone cancer. Weight loss, too, may occur from other problems. In the case of bone cancer, you may lose weight without intending to do so. If you are losing weight without apparent reasons and you experience any of the other mentioned symptoms, check with your physician for tests.

About this Author

Carole Anne Tomlinson has been a registered nurse working in a variety of medical environments for more than 25 years. She now serves as the nursing supervisor for a chemical dependency facility. She has also written numerous articles for a variety of websites.