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Bone Cancer (cont.)

Bone Cancer Causes

In most cases, the cause of bone cancer is unknown. Most cancers begin with an error or mutation in the bone cell DNA, the control region and building blocks of the cells. Changes in the cellular DNA can lead to problems with the cells dividing and multiplying into new cells, potentially causing an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells.

There are certain known risk factors for developing some types of bone cancer. Osteosarcoma is more common in people who have received radiation therapy or treatment with certain chemotherapy medications. Osteosarcoma is also more common in children who have had hereditary retinoblastoma, which is a rare cancer of the eye. Ewing's sarcoma is more common in children with hereditary cancer syndromes, including Li-Fraumeni syndrome or Rothmund-Thomson syndrome, multiple exostoses, or other bone conditions, including Paget's disease of bone.

Bone Cancer Symptoms and Signs

The most common symptom of bone cancer is pain. The pain often starts off as a dull ache that gradually worsens over time. The pain may initially only occur at night or with specific activities. If the tumor weakens the bone, it may lead to a fracture that can cause more sudden and severe pain. A lump or mass over the surface of the bone may be felt or seen through the patient's skin.

Other less common bone cancer symptoms and signs include:

When to Seek Medical Care for Bone Cancer

You should seek medical care if you have a new pain in your bones that does not resolve or worsens over time, if you have a sudden and more severe pain in your bones, or if you see or feel a mass over your bones.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/23/2016

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