Six early signs of bone cancer you need to know, according to a GP

Bone cancer is a rare type of cancer that begins in the bones, with around 550 new cases diagnosed each year in the UK.

It can affect any bone, but most cases tend to develop in the long bones of the legs or upper arms.

Like all cancers, early detection is key. Dr Chun Tang, Medical Director and GP at Pall Mall Medical, outlined some potential early signs to look out for.


Bone pain is considered a common symptom of bone cancer, said Dr Tang.

He explained: “The pain may initially be mild and intermittent but can become more severe and persistent as the cancer progresses. The pain is often described as deep, aching, and localised to the affected bone.”


Swelling or a noticeable lump near the affected bone can occur.

Dr Tang said: “The lump may feel firm and tender to the touch. Swelling may not always be painful.”


Bone cancer can weaken the affected bone, making it more prone to fractures (breaks).

Dr Tang said: “Sometimes, a fracture occurs without significant trauma or injury, and this can be a sign of underlying bone cancer.”

Limited range of motion

If the tumour is near a joint, it may restrict the joint’s range of motion and cause stiffness, said Dr Tang.

Unexplained weight loss

Significant, unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of various cancers, including bone cancer, noted Dr Tang.


Fatigue and a general feeling of unwellness may accompany bone cancer, especially as the disease progresses, said Dr Tang.

It’s important to remember these symptoms can also be caused by many other conditions or injuries.

Dr Tang advised: “If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, consult a healthcare professional. They will conduct a thorough evaluation, which may include imaging studies (X-rays, CT scans, MRI) and possibly a biopsy to confirm or rule out bone cancer.

“Early detection and treatment can greatly improve the prognosis for bone cancer, so it’s crucial not to ignore persistent or unusual symptoms.”



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