The 5 early bone cancer symptoms as 76% of cases are misdiagnosed | The Sun

MORE than three quarters of primary bone cancer cases in the UK are initially misdiagnosed, shocking research shows.

Brits are slow to recognise the disease in its early stages, and doctors often dismiss symptoms as minor health problems, experts warn.

But there are some tell-tale signs to look out for to give you the best chance of catching the condition before it spreads.

According to the Bone Cancer Research Trust (BCRT), the five most common symptoms include:

  1. Constant or intermittent bone pain, which often gets worse at night
  2. A lump, swelling or inflammation over the bone
  3. Problems with mobility, such as stiff joints or reduce movement
  4. An unexplained limp or reduced range of motion
  5. Bruising easily

Some patients may also experience tiredness, sweating, a fever, weight loss, loss of muscle tone, and bone fracturing.



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Around 560 people are diagnosed with bone cancer every year in the UK. About a third are children and teenagers.

A study by BCRT found 76 per cent of cases are initially misdiagnosed, and it takes an average of eight visits to healthcare professionals before being referred.

A quarter of people then wait seven months to be diagnosed, and 13 per cent wait more than a year.

Campaigners say symptoms are often mistaken for growing pains, sporting injuries, arthritis, tendonitis, and pulled muscles.

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One patient who knows all too well the impact of a late or misdiagnosis is Harmony Morgan-Young.

The then-eight-year-old, from Kent, developed a mysterious lump, tiredness and tingling in her fingers in 2020.

Her parents took her to hospital, but doctors thought she had an infection and she was sent home with antibiotics.

Another visit yielded similar results, and it wasn't until a family friend suggested she have an X-ray that the true cause of her symptoms was revealed.

Harmony had Ewing sarcoma – a rare cancer that eats away at bone and surrounding tissue.

The schoolgirl underwent gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and faced having her arm amputated from the elbow.

Her dad Aaron said: "Had this lump been given an X-ray earlier, she would have been in the early stages and further into treatment.

"The impact this has had on the whole family is life-changing.

"I fear that if it were not for our friend, this could have been a totally different story altogether."

Early diagnosis of the disease dramatically improves outcomes for patients like Harmony, and it reduces the need for potentially life-altering treatment and surgery, according to BCRT.

Speaking in 2020, Dr Jasmine Parkinson, research and grants manager at Children with Cancer UK, added: "Too many young children are slipping through the net in terms of bone cancer diagnosis, and it’s vital we take action.

"An early diagnosis really can be the difference between life or death."

Around 380 people die from bone cancer annually in the UK.

There are four main types:



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  1. Osteosarcoma (the most common, which usually affects children and adults under 20)
  2. Ewing sarcoma (common in people aged between 10 and 20)
  3. Chondrosarcoma (tends to impact adults over 40)
  4. Chordoma (a rarer form often diagnosed in adults)

Treatment will depend on the type and stage of cancer, but often involves surgery, chemotherapy, stem cell transplants, radiotherapy and proton beam therapy.

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