There are two main types of bone cancer in young people – Osteosarcoma and Ewing Sarcoma. Both are pretty rare and usually affect large bones like the thigh bone and the shin bone, but can also affect other bones. Osteosarcoma starts in the cells that make your bones grow. Ewing Sarcoma causes a tumour to grow in your bones or in the soft tissue around your bones.
The biggest warning sign of bone cancer is bone pain (but having bone pain doesn’t mean you have cancer). The area usually feels tender at first. Then the pain becomes an ache that doesn’t go away. You might feel a lump too.
How is it diagnosed?
X-rays and scans are the usual tests done to detect signs of bone cancer. But the most effective way to identify bone cancer is a biopsy – taking and testing a sample of bone tissue.
What’s the treatment?
Depending on the type of bone cancer that you have, doctors might recommend chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery – or a combination of these. Even if you need to have bone removed, it’s often possible to replace it with a bone graft or a metal implant (and yes, you will set off airport security). In some very rare cases, amputation is necessary, but new techniques mean this happens less and less. If you’re worried about it, though, have a chat with your doctor.