Interventional Oncology

Diagnosing cancer

What are bone tumours?

When cells divide abnormally and uncontrollably, they can form a mass or lump of tissue. This lump is called a tumour. Bone tumors form in your bones. As the tumour grows, abnormal tissue can displace healthy tissue. Tumours can either be benign or malignant.

Benign tumours are not cancerous. While benign bone tumors typically stay in place and are unlikely to be fatal, they are still abnormal cells and may require treatment. Benign tumors can grow and could compress your healthy bone tissue and cause future issues.

Malignant tumors are cancerous. Malignant bone tumors can cause cancer to spread throughout the body. There are several types of cancer that produce malignant bone tumors. Primary bone cancer means that the cancer originated in the bones.

The term “secondary bone cancer” means that the cancer started somewhere else in the body and then spread to the bone. It usually affects older adults. The types of cancer most likely to spread to your bones are:

  • kidney
  • breast
  • prostate
  • lung
  • thyroid gland

What are the symptoms of bone cancer?

The most common symptom of bone cancer is a dull ache in the affected bone. The pain starts off as occasional and then becomes severe and constant. The pain may be severe enough to wake you up in the night.

Sometimes, when people have an undiscovered bone tumor, what seems like an insignificant injury breaks the already weakened bone, leading to severe pain. This is known as a pathologic fracture. Sometimes there may be swelling at the site of the tumor.

Or you might not have any pain, but you’ll notice a new mass of tissue on some part of your body. Tumors can also cause night sweats, fevers, or both.