Symptoms and Signs of Bone Cancer

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 10/25/2022

Doctor's Notes on Bone Cancer

Bone cancer is cancer that arises in the bone cells. Although many types of cancer can spread via the bloodstream, or metastasize, to the bones, true bone cancer (primary bone cancer) is a bone cancer that begins in the bones rather than spreading to them. There are a number of different kinds of bone cancer. The cause of bone cancer is not completely understood, but it likely involves a combination of genetic factors as well as environmental influences. 

Signs and symptoms of bone cancer depend to some extent on the type and location:

  • bone pain, which is often worse at night,
  • breaks or fractures of the bone,
  • swelling of the involved area, and
  • numbness, tingling, or feeling of a lump in the bone.

What Is the Treatment for Bone Cancer?

There are a number of treatments for bone cancer, and different types of bone cancer respond to different treatments. In general, treatment of bone cancer may include one or more of the following methods:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor or to amputate an affected body part
  • Chemotherapy 
  • Radiation therapy
  • Medications to manage the side effects of treatments or to control pain


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.