Bone pain is the most common symptom of bone cancer. Some people experience other symptoms as well.
Pain caused by bone cancer usually begins with a feeling of tenderness in the affected bone. This gradually progresses to a persistent ache or an 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.
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. This may make it difficult to walk, and you may walk with a limp.
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:
- a high temperature
- unexplained weight loss
- sweating, particularly at night
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 you have any of the other symptoms of bone cancer.
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: 20 June 2021
Next review due: 20 June 2024