(STL.News) The last thing that any of us want is to be diagnosed with cancer. Bone cancer, or osteosarcoma, can be an especially frightening diagnosis since it can be more difficult to treat since surgery is a less viable option than with many other cancers.
However, ignoring the signs of bone cancer is not a solution. The sooner that bone cancer is identified and treated, the better your chances of recovering completely and reducing your pain and suffering during treatment. Here are some signs of bone cancer that simply shouldn’t be ignored.
Pain is the most common sign of bone cancer, which makes it one of the signs of bone cancer that is most important that you not ignore. As we get older, we become accustomed to many new aches and pains that we may not have suffered from when we were younger.
However, it is important to continue to track and be aware of changes in your pain, as pain is often an important indicator of disease. You may also suffer pain that feels like a dull, deep ache in your bones as a result of arthritis or injury resulting from osteoporosis, but the pain resulting from bone cancer is more likely to be isolated to one area whereas pain from arthritis is more likely to be generalized to multiple bones and joints.
Whereas pain from an injury will come on suddenly, pain from bone cancer gradually builds and intensifies while becoming more isolated to a particular area.
If you notice the area where your pain is localized swelling, this is a very strong indication that bone cancer may be at fault. While swelling can also be associated with arthritis, you can expect to see swelling in all or at least several joints when arthritis is at fault, whereas swelling will be isolated and more likely on a major bone rather than at the joint when you are dealing with bone cancer. Swelling may be generalized at the beginning and become more localized until it is a distinct lump or mass.
Cancerous cells weaken the bone, which makes fracture more likely. Fractures are also common in people suffering from osteoarthritis, but unlike with osteoarthritis, fractures that develop as a result of bone cancer often occur after a period of soreness and painfulness in the area, often becoming more acute until the fracture occurs.
When you go to your doctor to diagnose the fracture, be sure that you are clear with them about your history of pain in the area to help them identify potential bone cancer.
If bone cancer is developing near a joint, you may experience reduced mobility in that joint. This can be separated from reduced mobility as a result of arthritis because it will be isolated to a particular joint, whereas arthritis generally affects all or at least several joints equally.
Decreased mobility, combined with pain in the bone and swelling that only affects one joint, is a strong indication that bone cancer may be the culprit.
Bone cancer often results in the same sort of symptoms as any other kind of cancer. These symptoms are extremely unlikely if you are dealing with arthritis or osteoporosis instead of bone cancer.
One of the strongest indications of cancer is weight loss along with fatigue. There is no reason that arthritis or osteoporosis should cause you to lose weight or experience lethargy, so if you have pain in your bone, especially isolated pain, along with weight loss and fatigue, tell your doctor immediately.
Call your Doctor at the First Signs of Bone Cancer
If you identify any of these signs of bone cancer, you should call your doctor immediately. It can be scary to face a diagnosis of bone cancer, but it is important to receive treatment as soon as possible, and you will probably find that it is easier to face your prognosis with your doctor than deal with the unknowns at home.