MANY of us believe we know most of the obvious cancer symptoms.
Unexplained lumps, bumps are general tiredness are widely understood to be early indicators of the disease.
But struggling to walk can also be a sign of the illness.
Bone cancer, often referred to as bone sarcoma, is relatively rare with fewer than 600 people diagnosed with the disease in the UK each year.
There are several types of bone cancer; chondrosarcoma is the most common in adulthood, and osteosarcoma is the most common in children and young adults.
The disease, which kills around one person each day, often causes leg pain making it difficult for the affected person to walk.
Any bone can be infected, although bone cancer most often develops in the long bones of the legs or upper arms, the NHS explains.
“The pain can sometimes be wrongly mistaken for arthritis in adults and growing pains in children and teenagers,” it says.
Sometimes bone pain can be misdiagnosed as tendonitis or a sports injury, as well as arthritis, the Bone Cancer Research Trust says.
It warns cancer bone pain may not be relieved by painkillers, can become worse at night, or come and go intermittently.
As primary bone cancers are rare and many GPs may never have seen a case before, patients commonly “visit their GP three or four times before receiving a referral”, the charity says.
The 7 other bone cancer symptoms include:
- swelling (around affected bone)
- redness (around affected bone)
- walking with a limp
- bones fracture easily
- a high temperature
- unexplained weight loss
- sweating, particularly at night
The NHS says: “See your GP if you or your child experiences persistent, severe or worsening bone pain, or if you’re worried you have any of the other symptoms of bone cancer.
“While it’s highly unlikely that your symptoms are caused by cancer, it’s best to be sure by getting a proper diagnosis.”
Overall, more than half of people with bone cancer survive for more than ten years, while around six in ten will live for at least five years.
Many will be cured completely.
Difficulty walking can also be a sign of a brain tumour, charity Cancer Research UK says.
This happens when the cancer grows in frontal lobe; which is the part of the brain responsible for movement such as walking.
Brain tumours that put pressure on the brain stem – which is responsible for important body functions such as breathing – can also lead to unsteadiness and difficulty walking.
Likewise, cancer which grows near or on the pineal gland, which makes a hormone called melatonin, can lead to unsteadiness when walking.
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