It’s estimated that in 2020, about 3,600 new cases of bone cancer will be diagnosed — with primary cancers of the bone, or malignant cancers, accounting for less than 0.2% of all cancers. 5
At ITC, we believe knowledge is power when it comes to cancer and alternative treatment for bone cancer. If you’re wondering what does bone cancer look like, let’s take a closer look at how this cancer manifests physically and answer how is bone cancer diagnosed. Know that aside from physical signs, primary bone cancer can also be found through imaging tests like a CT scan and an X-ray.
We’ll help you know what signs to look for — and what the imaging tests might show if you do have symptoms.
What Does Bone Cancer Look Like?
One of the best tools for how to tell if you have bone cancer is to start by identifying the symptoms. In addition to bone pain, there are a few physical ways that bone cancer shows up in the body.
So, what are the symptoms of bone cancer? Bone cancer may present itself in a variety of ways and the area where the pain is, such as the leg or arm, can start to swell. There might also be a lump and the area can appear red and inflamed. Additionally, if there is bone cancer near a joint, the joint might swell and become tender, which can restrict the range of movement. 3
Cancer that occurs in the bones of the neck might cause a lump in the back of the throat. This can make it hard to breathe or lead to difficulty swallowing.
Remember that swelling might take longer to show up than the pain does. There might be a lump or mass, but not always. Because primary bone cancer can mask itself as other issues — an injury brought on by excessive use, swelling due to an infection, and more — it requires imaging tests to see what bone cancer truly looks like.
It isn’t known exactly what causes bone cancer, but there are tests that can be used to detect the cancer to prevent it from spreading further. When asking how do you know if you have bone cancer, imaging tests are what help to differentiate bone cancer from other primary bone diseases.
CT scans, also known as computed tomography scans, are helpful when it comes to determining bone cancer stages. A CT scan can help to show whether the bone cancer has spread to distant organs. 1
When taking X-rays of the bone, most bone cancers will show up. Where the cancer is located, the bone might appear “ragged” or look like it has a hole. In some cases, doctors will notice a tumor around that particular area of the bone. The tumor may extend into other bone tissue nearby like muscle or fat. Depending on the X-ray, the radiologist can often identify malignant tumors (though a biopsy will be needed to confirm whether or not this is true). 1
An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging scan, is often used to outline bone tumors and is a good tool for looking at the brain and spinal cord. But what does bone cancer look like on an MRI? With its strong magnetic field and radio waves, an MRI scan can produce a detailed image of the bones and soft tissue. It outlines the tumor to assess the size and spread of the bone cancer. 1,2
Radionuclide bone scans
Radionuclide bone scans can tell what cancer looks like if it’s spread to other bones from the primary cancer site and can tell how much damage it has caused in the bone. 1
Positron emission tomography scans, or PET scans, use glucose attached to a radioactive atom and a special camera to analyze cancer cells. Because cancer absorbs the radioactive sugar, PET scans help to see what does bone cancer look like throughout your entire body. It can also help to tell whether or not a tumor is cancerous or benign. 1
During a biopsy, a piece of tissue is taken from the tumor, looked at with a microscope, and tested in a lab. A biopsy is the only way to know if tumors are cancerous or related to another primary bone disease. Through samples of tissue and bone cells, a biopsy can tell what your bone cancer looks like and whether it started in the bone (or spread there from another type of cancer). 1
A biopsy can also help detect which type of bone cancer you have. Understanding what type of bone cancer you have and what it looks like will help you when moving forward with your cancer treatment. Some different types of bone cancer include:
- Ewing Sarcoma
- Giant cell tumor
- Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma
When it comes to discussing what does bone cancer feel like and look like, it’s important to remember that bone cancer will vary depending on the patient. Some patients might have swelling and joint pain, while others might experience benign tumors — which are not cancerous, after all.
Depending on your type of cancer, your doctor may suggest traditional treatment options, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or surgery. These methods are invasive, which is why we believe in using holistic and alternative cancer treatments that will boost your immune system.
Whatever stage you might be in with your cancer diagnosis, Immunity Therapy Center is here to help. We focus on non-invasive therapies that help our patients maintain their health while they fight their battle. From bone cancer to breast cancer, we’ve made it our mission to treat cancer naturally and holistically.
If you’re interested in hearing more about ITC and how to treat bone cancer naturally, feel free to reach out to us today. Our staff is passionate, dedicated and here to help.
- cancer.org. Tests for Bone Cancer https://www.cancer.org/cancer/bone-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/how-diagnosed.html
- nhs.uk. Bone Cancer – Diagnosis https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bone-cancer/diagnosis/
- cancer.net. Bone Cancer: Symptoms and Signs https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/bone-cancer/symptoms-and-signs
- cancer.org. Signs and Symptoms of Bone Cancer https://www.cancer.org/cancer/bone-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html
- cancer.org. Key Statistics for Bone Cancer https://www.cancer.org/cancer/bone-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.