Doctors usually detect bone cancer before it can spread to other areas. This is because symptoms such as swelling and bone pain often prompt a person to contact a doctor.
Primary bone cancer is relatively rare, accounting for
People often consult a doctor about pain or swelling while bone cancer is in its early stages, so it is unusual for this type of cancer to go undetected.
This article examines the symptoms and diagnosis of bone cancer, how quickly it spreads, and the outlook for different types of bone cancer.
Symptoms of bone cancer can vary depending on the type, location, and stage of the cancer.
In some cases, bone tumors can cause swelling or a lump. A person may not notice swelling until the area becomes painful. If a person has cancer in the neck bones, they may develop a lump in the throat which can interfere with breathing and swallowing.
Bone cancer can weaken the affected bones. However, in most cases, the bones do not fracture. When this does occur, people often describe it as a sudden and severe pain in a bone that had been painful for a
As with other cancers, bone cancer can cause fatigue and weight loss.
Bone cancer can also cause other symptoms, depending on where it is. Bone cancer in the spine may cause compression on the nerves of the spinal cord, which can result in numbness, weakness, or tingling in other areas of the body.
If bone cancer metastasizes to other organs, such as the lungs, it can cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing.
A doctor may ask questions about a person’s symptoms, perform a physical examination, and order several imaging tests if they suspect a person has bone cancer. Doctors can usually confirm this diagnosis with a biopsy.
Doctors will also perform tests to determine whether the bone cancer began in the bone and is primary bone cancer or whether it is bone metastasis and has spread from another area of the body to the bone.
The speed at which bone cancer spreads depends on the type and extent of the cancer.
Chondrosarcoma is a type of primary bone cancer typically affecting people aged
The outlook for bone cancer depends on various factors, such as the type, stage, and grade of the cancer, a person’s age, and the individual’s overall health.
A person’s outlook is typically better if the cancer is localized and has not spread from the bone.
A 5-year relative survival rate indicates the probability of a person’s survival with a particular type of cancer 5 years after diagnosis compared to someone without that cancer. According to the
- chondrosarcoma: 79%
- chordoma: 84%
- giant cell tumor of bone: 78%
A person can have bone cancer and not be aware of it. However, doctors typically detect bone cancer early, often while it is curable. This is because symptoms such as bone pain and swelling often prompt a person to contact a doctor.
People may experience pain, a lump or swelling in the area of the tumor, a bone fracture, fatigue, and weight loss if they have bone cancer. The speed at which the cancer grows and spreads may depend on its type and stage.
The outlook for bone cancer is generally favorable, and doctors can often cure it. Cancer that is localized and has not spread beyond the bone is more likely to be curable.