Symptoms of bone cancer 

Bone pain is the most common symptom of bone cancer. Some people experience other symptoms as well.

Bone pain

Pain caused by bone cancer usually begins with a feeling of tenderness in the affected bone. This gradually progresses to a persistent ache or ache that comes and goes, which continues at night and when resting.

Any bone can be affected, although bone cancer most often develops in the long bones of the legs or upper arms.

The pain can sometimes be wrongly mistaken for arthritis in adults and growing pains in children and teenagers.

Other symptoms

Some people also experience swelling and redness (inflammation) or notice a lump on or around the affected bone. If the bone is near a joint, the swelling may make it difficult to use the joint.

In some cases, the cancer can weaken a bone, causing it to break (fracture) easily after a minor injury or fall.

Less common symptoms can include:

When to seek medical advice

See your GP if you or your child experiences persistent, severe or worsening bone pain, or if you're worried about any of the symptoms mentioned above.

While it's highly unlikely that your symptoms are caused by cancer, it's best to be sure by getting a proper diagnosis. Read more about diagnosing bone cancer.

Page last reviewed: 06/05/2015

Next review due: 01/05/2018