The most common osteosarcoma symptoms are bone or joint pain, swelling, tenderness and limping or walking difficulties if the tumor develops in a leg bone. At first, these symptoms may only be present on occasion, although they can become more prevalent as the cancer grows. In many cases, osteosarcoma symptoms are most severe at night.
Other osteosarcoma symptoms include:
- Redness and a sensation of warmth at the site of a tumor
- Unexplained weight loss
- A low red blood cell count (anemia)
- A palpable bump, depending on the exact location of the tumor
Sometimes, an osteosarcoma can weaken a bone so much that it breaks or fractures. However, this is fairly unusual. If an osteosarcoma does cause a bone fracture, patients often describe the experience as a sudden instance of severe pain after several weeks or months of dull soreness.
Because the symptoms of osteosarcoma often develop early on in the progression of the condition, many patients are diagnosed before the cancer has a chance to spread to other parts of the body. People who are diagnosed with locally contained osteosarcoma have a wider range of treatment options and generally better prognoses; as a result, it’s important for any unusual symptoms to be promptly reported to a physician for diagnosis.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our oncologists can review a patient’s symptoms to determine if cancer might be the underlying cause. Most of the warning signs listed above can be caused by issues other than osteosarcoma, but a complete spectrum of diagnostic services – including core biopsies, surgical biopsies and imaging scans – are available if cancer is suspected.