Bone Cancer, Secondary


When cancer first develops within the body, this is known as primary cancer. It can develop at various sites within the body and there are many different types of primary cancer. Millions of malignant cells form this cancer and at times some of these cells may break away into the bloodstream. They can then travel around the body and if they deposit in a certain area can become a secondary cancer, which is also called a metastasis.
Secondary bone cancer can occur from any primary cancer but most commonly occurs from primary cancers such as kidney, prostate, lung, thyroid or breast.

Things to look out for

Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Bone pain – this could occur in one place or in various places around the body and the level of pain can vary and may get worse at night. Sometimes swelling may occur within the same area
  • Tingling or numbness of the limbs – this may occur if the secondary cancer is affecting the bone around the spine as this can cause spinal compression. Spinal cord compression can also cause muscle weakening and pain
  • Increased calcium levels (hypercalcaemia) – calcium helps to build bones and when a bone is affected by secondary cancer cells this may cause calcium to be dispersed into the bloodstream. Although this is often diagnosed before becoming symptomatic it could cause feelings of sickness, lethargy (tiredness), confusion, thirst or constipation
  • Weak bones – the bone or bones affected by the secondary cancer may incur unexplainable breaks which are not related to a significant incident. This is called a pathological fracture