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Bone Cancer: Bone Ache. When Should I Be Worried and Get It Checked?
Bone Cancer: Bone Ache. When Should I Be Worried and Get It Checked?

Bone cancer is a rare type of cancer that can develop in the bones in the body, with the pelvis and long bones being commonly affected. Cancers that form in the bone itself are called primary bone cancers. Tumours that begin in other organs can spread to the bones as well; these are called secondary or metastatic bone cancers. In this blog, we’ll delve into bone ache, its significance, and when it warrants medical attention. By understanding the nature of bone ache and identifying potential symptoms of primary bone cancer, you can make informed choices regarding your well-being. Let’s explore the topic together and empower ourselves with knowledge about bone health.

Understanding Bone Ache

Bone ache refers to the sensation of pain or discomfort in the bones or joints. It can arise from various injuries and health conditions and is often accompanied by tenderness. While some causes of bone pain, such as fractures resulting from trauma, are readily identifiable, others, such as certain types of cancer, may not manifest obvious symptoms. Bone pain typically presents as a dull and achy sensation that originates deep within the body. The affected area may be tender to the touch and movement can exacerbate the pain or discomfort.

To differentiate between bone ache and bone cancer, let’s look at the symptoms of bone cancer which encompass bone pain, swelling, tenderness near the affected area, weakened bones leading to fractures, fatigue, and unintended weight loss. So if you or your loved ones experience bone pain, do not be alarmed just yet, but examine if the other bone cancer symptoms are present. If they are, it is advisable to speak to an oncology consultant in Singapore. However, if they aren’t, there could be other reasons for bone aches.

Common Causes Of Bone Ache

Bone ache can arise from non-cancerous factors, including injuries, infections, and inflammations. Traumatic events such as car accidents, sports injuries, falls, and bone fractures can be responsible for bone pain. Additionally, health conditions like osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, avascular necrosis, osteomyelitis, and vitamin D deficiency can contribute to the occurrence of bone ache. It’s important to consider these potential causes when experiencing bone pain.

Red Flags For Bone Cancer

If you or your loved ones encounter bone pain that usually begins with a feeling of tenderness in the affected bone and gradually progresses to a persistent ache or ache that comes and goes, which continues or worsens at night, even when resting, and or does not respond to over-the-counter pain relievers, it is crucial to consult an oncology consultant in Singapore promptly.

Some common warning signs of bone cancer include:

  • Pain. You might have pain or tenderness most of the time, even when you’re resting.
  • Swelling. You might have some swelling, but it is not always possible to see or feel a lump.
  • Difficulties with movements of the affected limb or joint
  • Feeling tired (fatigue)
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss

Seeking timely medical evaluation is essential for identifying the underlying cause and commencing suitable treatment, if necessary. Consulting a cancer doctor in Singapore is essential for proper evaluation and timely intervention. Your doctor can provide guidance and address any concerns you may have.

Importance of Early Detection For Bone Cancer

Early detection of bone cancer plays a significant role in achieving better treatment outcomes and improving quality of life. Timely diagnosis allows for prompt intervention and the development of a tailored treatment plan. Bone ache can be a cause for concern, and it is important to pay attention to persistent or worsening bone pain. While bone pain can have various causes, recognising red flags for bone cancer is crucial. Although it is a rare condition that makes up less than 1% of all cancers, seeking medical evaluation at the earliest signs of concern can lead to timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Remember, you are not alone. Consulting cancer doctors, like the experienced team at OncoCare, can provide the expert support you need on your bone cancer journey.

Limb Salvage Treatment for Bone Cancer Patients

Limb salvage surgery is a highly advanced technique used to remove bone tumours without the need for amputation, resulting in improved functionality and quality of life for patients. This complex procedure involves the removal of the tumour and subsequent reconstruction of the bone and soft tissue. Skilled surgical teams perform limb salvage surgery to achieve tumour-free margins, sometimes requiring the resection of significant portions of the bone. Reconstruction options include biologic methods using donor bone or recycled bone, as well as non-biologic approaches utilising metal implants. With limb salvage surgery, patients can benefit from better outcomes without compromising survival or increasing the risk of tumour recurrence.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy shrinks the tumors with high doses of X-rays. Radiation therapy may be utilised in certain types of bone cancer before surgery to shrink the tumour or after the surgery to prevent recurrence of the bone cancer.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a form of medicine used to get rid of bone cancer cells throughout the body. It is given before or after surgery for bone cancers to prevent cancer recurrence.

If you are seeking specialised cancer care, OncoCare offers a wide range of services to meet your needs. Visit our website to explore the comprehensive care provided and learn more about our experienced team of cancer specialists in Singapore. Take the first step towards proactive cancer management by checking out our services and accessing our wealth of knowledge and expertise.

“Expert knowledge means better care for cancer”

Written by:

Dr Angela Pang

MBBS (Singapore)

Grad Dip (GRM)


M Med (Internal Med)