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Bone Cancer Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms

Symptoms of bone cancer vary, depending on the location and size of the tumor. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor.

  • Pain at the tumor location
  • Swelling or a lump at the location of the tumor
  • Deep bone pain severe enough to wake you up
  • Bone fractures (rarely)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fever or night sweats

These symptoms may also be caused by other, less serious health conditions. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor.

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam.

Tests may include the following:

  • Blood test—to check the level of the enzyme alkaline phosphatase; an increased amount of this enzyme is released in patients with bone tumors and when healthy children are growing.
  • X-ray —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body, especially bones
  • Bone scan —a test that looks for evidence of bone tumors; a radioactive substance injected into the bloodstream is absorbed by bone tissue, and is then tracked by the bone scan.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside of the body
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside of the body
  • Biopsy —removal of a sample of bone tissue to test for cancer cells; excisional (removing the tumor) biopsy for bone tumors may mean excision of a considerable portion of the involved bone or limb, and occasionally, partial or complete amputation of the extremity depending on the location and type of tumor.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2019 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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