Bone pain from cancer can be due to any type of cancer that forms or spreads in the bone. It may be due to primary bone cancer or secondary bone cancer. Secondary bone cancer, also known as metastatic bone cancer, is the one that has spread (metastasized) from another organ to the bone. Primary bone cancer is true bone cancer, which means that cancer originated in the bone itself.
Whatever be the case, bone pain from cancer may be aching, throbbing, or stabbing in nature. It starts suddenly and worsens at night or due to activities; for example, if cancer is in the bones of the leg, jogging can bring on the pain. With time, as cancer spreads in the whole bone or deeper, the pain becomes persistent and does not go away. Other signs and symptoms of bone cancer include:
- Swelling and tenderness in the affected bone
- Fracture in the weaker areas of bone after a minor trauma
- Numbness and tingling (in cancer of the spine)
- Unexplained weight loss
Bone pain can also be a sign in other conditions not caused by cancer, such as osteoporosis. It is recommended to consult with the doctor to know the condition that is responsible for the bone pain.
What causes bone cancer?
A metastatic bone cancer results from the spread of the cancerous cells from any other organ of the body. The most common organs include the prostate, breast, and lung.
What exactly causes primary bone cancer is unknown. However, doctors have recognized certain factors that can increase your risk of getting it. These include:
- Inherited genetic syndromes: These syndromes are passed through families and include:
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Hereditary retinoblastoma
- Paget disease of the bone: This disease is most common in adults older than 50 years. Paget disease is a chronic condition of the skeleton that results in deformed and brittle bones.
- Radiation therapy for cancer: Radiation therapy taken for any cancer increases the risk of bone cancer in the future.
How is bone cancer diagnosed?
Doctors generally rule out all other conditions associated with bone pain before they reach the diagnosis of bone cancer. To know the location and size of the tumor, they will order imaging tests, such as:
- Bone scan
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
A bone biopsy will confirm the bone cancer. Also, it will let the doctor know what type of bone cancer it is and how aggressive it is. A biopsy is a procedure of removing pieces of tissue from the suspected bone. This can be done via a needle inserted into the skin to reach the bone or via surgery that involves making an incision through the skin to remove the tissue sample from the bone.
What is the treatment of bone cancer?
The treatment of bone cancer varies with people. Doctors need to consider certain factors before deciding on a treatment plan. These include:
- The type of cancer
- The stage of the cancer
- Your overall health
- Your preferences
The treatment of bone cancer involves surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Depending on the factors mentioned above, doctors may plan surgery and administer chemotherapy or radiation therapy after the surgery. Sometimes, only surgery or surgery along with chemotherapy may also be planned.
- Surgery for bone cancer involves removing the cancerous portion from the bone and a small amount of adjacent healthy bone tissue.
- Radiation therapy involves passing a beam of high-energy waves through the cancerous area of the bone. This therapy destroys the tumor and shrinks it.
- Chemotherapy uses strong anticancer drugs, delivered intravenously (IV) or given in the form of pills to kill cancer cells. It may only work for certain types of bone cancer and not for others.
- Attachment Theory: What It Is, Stages & the Different Attachment Styles
- Gentle Parenting: What It Is, Techniques & Discipline
- U.S. Nursing Homes Fail to Report Many Serious Falls, Bedsores: Study
- The Younger You Get Diabetes, the Higher Your Risk for Dementia Later
- FDA Grants Full Approval to Paxlovid to Treat COVID-19
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Cancer Society. Signs and Symptoms of Bone Cancer. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/bone-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html
Top What Does Bone Pain From Cancer Feel Like? Related Articles
Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) begins in the bone marrow, but it frequently spreads to the bloodstream as well. AML usually develops from cells that would normally turn into white blood cells (other than lymphocytes) but can develop from other blood-forming cells. Leukemia may damage red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. AML is also called acute myelocytic leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.
Bone CancerBone cancer is a rare type of cancer that occurs in cells that make up the bones. Primary bone cancer that arises in bone cells is different than metastatic bone cancer, which is cancer that arises in another part of the body and then spreads to the bones. Hereditary and environmental factors likely contribute to the risk of bone cancer. Signs and symptoms of bone cancer may include pain, the presence of a mass or lump, and bone fractures. There are different types of bone cancer (osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, pleomorphic sarcoma, fibrosarcoma). Treatment for bone cancer may include surgical removal of the tumor, chemotherapy, radiation, and/or a stem cell transplant. The prognosis for bone cancer depends on the type of cancer and the extent of spread.
Brukinsa (zanubrutinib)Brukinsa (zanubrutinib) is a prescription medicine used to treat the symptoms of mantel cell lymphoma (MCL) and Waldenström macroglobulinemia, both of which are types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Serious side effects of Brukinsa include hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat; pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, chest discomfort, lightheadedness, right-sided upper stomach pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, and others.
CancerCancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
How Do They Diagnose Bone Cancer?A biopsy is the most accurate way to diagnose bone cancer. Your medical history, physical exam, imaging tests and blood tests can also help your doctor confirm a diagnosis.
How Long Do You Live After Being Diagnosed With Bone Cancer?When diagnosed and treated during the early stages, most people with bone cancer can have long and productive lives. Learn the five-year survival rate, types, and warning signs of bone cancer.
How Is Bone Cancer Caused?Cancers are caused by a sudden mutation (changes) in the cell's genetic material (deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA). The exact cause of such a mutation is unknown. Scientists have made progress in understanding the role of DNA in causing normal cells to become cancerous. DNA is the source of instructions for everything that our cells do.
Is a Bone Scan the Same as an MRI?A bone scan is a nuclear imaging technology, whereas magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic waves to create a three-dimensional (3D) image of an organ. Therefore, they are different.
morphineMorphine is a pain reliever (analgesic) used to manage moderate-to-severe acute and chronic pain, including post-surgical pain, and pain caused by cancer and other conditions. Morphine has a high risk for addiction, abuse, and misuse that can lead to overdose and death. Common side effects of morphine include itching (pruritus), urinary retention, vomiting, headache, drowsiness (somnolence), and constipation. Consult your doctor before taking morphine if pregnant. Taking morphine while breastfeeding is not recommended due to risk to infant.
Osteoporosis: Simple Steps to Boost Bone HealthYour bones tend to weaken as you age. But it's not unavoidable. Here are things you can do to keep them as strong as possible.
What Color Ribbon Is for Bone Cancer?A yellow ribbon symbolizes sarcoma and bone cancer awareness.
What Does Bone Cancer in the Hip Feel Like?Bone cancers are malignant tumors that arise in the bone due to the abnormal growth of bone cells in the body. The most common symptom of bone cancer in the hip is hip pain, which can be severe enough to disrupt sleep and daily activities.
What Does Bone Cancer in the Leg Feel Like?Bone cancer is also referred to as the sarcoma of bone. If it is in the leg, it may feel painful in the area where the tumor is located. The patient may feel aching, throbbing or stabbing pain. It may initially come and go.
Where Does Bone Cancer Usually Start?Bone cancer occurs when there is an abnormal multiplication of the bone cells. It can arise from any bone in the body. The most commonly affected bones are the pelvis (hip bone) and long bones in the arms and legs such as the humerus and femur bone. Bone cancer is rare.