Bone Cancer : Symptoms, Signs and Causes

Bone cancer, or bone carcinoma, is a rare yet serious disease that develops in the bones. There are different types of bone cancer, but the most common are Ewing sarcoma, chondrosarcoma, and osteosarcoma.

Though bone sarcoma can affect any bone in the body, it usually affects the long bones of the arms and legs or the pelvis. Also, bone cancer symptoms vary depending on the cancer type and the tumor's location in the body.

However, there are some common symptoms for each type of bone cancer. Knowing these symptoms helps in a proper diagnosis of the cancer and affects the treatment adopted as well.

Who is Mainly Affected by Bone Cancer?

Some types of bone carcinoma affect primarily kids and young adults, while others affect adults more commonly. For example, Osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma affect children and adults, while Chondrosarcoma is commonly found among adults.

Most Common Bone Cancer Symptoms

Here are some of the signs of bone cancer that are primarily associated with bone carcinoma.

Other symptoms

Here are some other less-known symptoms of bone sarcoma.

What are the causes of Bone Cancer?

Though the real causes of bone tumors are unknown, there are some factors that may contribute to the development of this cancer.

When to see an Oncologist?

Since bone cancer's early symptoms may be mistaken for some of the lesser-known health conditions, this can make a bone cancer diagnosis a little difficult. If an individual has been experiencing the bone cancer symptoms mentioned above, it is always advisable to visit the doctor as soon as possible.


The bone tumor's symptoms may vary as per the bone cancer stage and its location. However, just like any other cancer, its early diagnosis is important for a successful treatment procedure. Thus, a clear understanding of the possible causes and risk factors of bone cancer goes a long way toward increasing the survival rate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, some of the symptoms of bone sarcoma, such as bone pain, may start suddenly and can be quite severe.

Yes, bone cancer can lead to low levels of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells, and when bone cancer causes damage to the bone marrow, the site for the production of red blood cells, the patients may end up having low hemoglobin levels.

Yes, the symptoms of bone sarcoma in children and adults may differ, as these age groups are affected by different types of bone cancer.

The different body parts affected by bone carcinoma depend on the cancer's stage, type, and location. The cancer may affect systems such as the nervous system, the blood system, the skeletal system, and the lungs.

Cancer can affect any bone in the body. Certain bone cancers, however, predominantly arise from specific bones. The bones around the knee are usually affected by osteosarcoma. The upper leg, pelvis, and other bones of the trunk are more commonly affected by Ewing’s sarcoma. Chondrosarcomas arise from the pelvic bones in most cases.

Cancer spreads to the bones largely through the vein system. Once cancer cells enter the bloodstream, they can travel to any part of the body, from head to toe. This is how cancer travels from organs to bones or from bone to bone. The spine has a wide network of veins, and therefore, its bones are more vulnerable to cancer formation.

The symptoms of bone cancer in the hip include pain in the hip, weakness in the hip, swelling or any kind of lump in the hip, fractures, and unexplained weight loss.

There are some basic differences between ewing sarcoma symptoms and pelvic bone cancer symptoms. The reason is that ewing sarcoma usually affects children, while pelvic bone cancer can affect people of all ages. Ewing sarcoma symptoms include pain in the affected bone, fever, lumps in the bone, and fatigue. On the other hand, pelvic bone cancer symptoms include swelling in the pelvis, urinary issues, and constipation.

Chondrosarcoma originates in the bone cartilage cells and mostly affects adults. The most common chondrosarcoma symptoms include persistent bone pain that gets worse at night, swelling in the bone, weakness, and fragile bones.

The symptoms of bone cancer are not gender specific and thus there are no differences between symptoms affecting males and females. The common signs of bone carcinoma include continuous pain in the affected bone, swelling or lumps in the bone, or weakness in the affected leg.