Symptoms of primary bone cancer can be very general and often appear similar to the symptoms of sports injuries, growing pains or many other common conditions such as tendonitis or arthritis. They may also vary depending on the location and the size of the tumour.

The most common symptoms of primary bone cancer are:

  • Bone pain
  • This can be constant or intermittent (comes and goes). Painkillers may not help and the pain can be worse at night
  • The area may be tender to touch
  • A lump or swelling may be seen or felt if the tumour is near the surface of the body. In other places (i.e. the pelvis) a lump or swelling may not be visible
  • Inflammation and tenderness over the bone
  • Problems with mobility such as stiff joints or reduced movement
  • Development of an unexplained limp, joint stiffness and reduced range of motion
  • Easy bruising
There are less common symptoms which may also occur in some patients, including:
  • Tiredness
  • Sweats/fever
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Fracturing of the bone may occur due to the tumour weakening the area . This is known as a pathological fracture

If you are concerned about bone cancer symptoms, please seek advice from your doctor. Please also refer to our Primary Bone Cancer Flashcard.

Symptoms awareness video

The Information Standard Disclaimer

Version 2 produced September 2016
Information is currently under review (May 2020)

The authors and reviewers of this information are committed to producing reliable, accurate and up to date content reflecting the best available research evidence, and best clinical practice. We aim to provide unbiased information free from any commercial conflicts of interest. This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. We can answer questions about primary bone cancers, including treatments and research but we are unable to offer specific advice about individual patients. If you are worried about any symptoms please consult your doctor.

The Bone Cancer Research Trust shall hold responsibility for the accuracy of the information they publish and neither the Scheme Operator nor the Scheme Owner shall have any responsibility whatsoever for costs, losses or direct or indirect damages or costs arising from inaccuracy of information or omissions in information published on the website on behalf of the Bone Cancer Research Trust.