Bone Cancer (or osteosarcoma)
Bone cancer (or osteosarcoma) is a tumour that grows inside a bone.
Teenagers and young adults are the most commonly affected age group, but bone cancer can occur at any age. It can develop in any bone, but is usually found in areas where the bone is growing quickly, like near the ends of the long bones in legs and arms. The most common place is in the bones around the knee. The part of the upper arm bone close to the shoulder is the next most common place. In young people bone cancer is also often found in the pelvis.
The tests that are done to diagnose it are x-rays, scans and biopsies and the treatments that are given are chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery; often a combination of these treatments is given.
Signs and symptoms
The following could be a warning sign of bone cancer:
- A lump or swelling
- Pain that usually gets worse over time and can feel more painful during the night
- Extreme tiredness
Other symptoms of bone cancer can include:
- A high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- Unexplained and significant weight loss
- Heavy night sweats
Real life story: Dominic, 16
I was in my first year of sixth form when I started experiencing severe pain and swelling in my left leg, around the knee. After six weeks of doctors, tests and scans I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in my knee. I was treated with chemotherapy and surgery to replace bone in my leg and knee.
I received all of my treatment on a Teenage Cancer Trust unit, which was lucky for me. I could talk to other people who’d been there longer than me and get their support and views on how to deal with problems, and I did the same for other patients when I’d been there longer. The entire vibe was friendlier and the nurses were always cheery and up for a laugh.
My whole world changed when I was diagnosed with cancer. While my friends were at college, going to parties and having fun, I was in hospital feeling rough. I feel like I’ve come out of my experience a positive and upbeat person, and I’m now playing catch up with my mates!