ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the changes and medical problems that can be a sign of bone sarcoma. Use the menu to see other pages.
What are the symptoms and signs of bone sarcoma?
People with bone sarcoma may experience one or more of the following symptoms or signs. Symptoms are changes that you can feel in your body. Signs are changes in something measured, like taking your blood pressure or doing a lab test. Together, symptoms and signs can help describe a medical problem. Sometimes, people with bone sarcoma do not have any of the symptoms and signs described below. Or, the cause of a symptom or sign may be a different medical condition that is not cancer.
When a bone tumor grows, it presses on healthy bone tissue and can destroy it, which causes the following symptoms:
Pain. The earliest symptoms of bone sarcoma are pain and swelling where the tumor is located. The pain may come and go at first. Then it can become more severe and steady later. The pain may get worse with movement, and there may be swelling in nearby soft tissue. The pain may not go away, and it can occur while resting or at night. Most bone sarcomas in children appear around the knees and may be first thought to be "growth pain," leading to a delay in diagnosis.
Joint swelling and stiffness. A tumor that occurs near or in a joint may cause the joint to swell and become tender or stiff. This means a person may have a limited and painful range of movement.
Limping. If a bone with a tumor breaks, or fractures, in a leg, it can lead to a pronounced limp. Limping is usually a symptom of later-stage bone sarcoma.
Other less common symptoms. Rarely, people with a bone sarcoma may have symptoms such as fever, generally feeling unwell, weight loss, and anemia, which is a low level of red blood cells.
If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will try to understand what is causing your symptom(s). They may do an exam and order tests to understand the cause of the problem, which is called a diagnosis.
If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. Managing symptoms may also be called "palliative and supportive care," which is not the same as hospice care given at the end of life. You can receive palliative and supportive care at any time during cancer treatment. This type of care focuses on managing symptoms and supporting people who face serious illnesses, such as cancer. You can receive palliative and supportive care at any time during cancer treatment. Learn more in this guide’s section on Coping With Treatment.
Be sure to talk with your health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.
The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.