Bone Tumors: What You Should Know

Posted on September 16, 2018


The word tumor sounds scary, especially if you or a loved one has had serious medical problems in the past. What is a bone tumor and are they cancerous? Keep reading to learn more from your local orthopedic care specialist in Long Island, NY.

What is a Bone Tumor?

A tumor is a growth caused by abnormal cell division. Your cells divide to heal or replace older cells. However, there is a time and place for cell division. When cells divide without a purpose, they clump together in a mass called a tumor. A tumor located on or inside your bone is called a bone tumor. For the most part, tumors are benign, meaning they're not cancerous. They may grow in size, but they generally don't spread to other parts of the body as cancer does. Although most of them are not virulent, bone tumors are still painful, and some can lead to other medical complications.

There are several different types of benign bone tumors. Osteochondroma is a tumor that grows out of the bone it’s attached to, such as the knee, scapula, femur, or forearm. Osteoid osteoma tumors can be found in any bone in the body. However, they're more prevalent in long bones like the femur and tibia. Osteoblastoma is a bone tumor that takes root in the spinal column while enchondroma is a tumor of the hands and feet. Most patients with bone tumors are either children or young adults because their bodies are still growing, and cell division is at an all-time high. As you age, cell division slows down, but that doesn’t mean that older adults don’t develop bone tumors.      


Symptoms to Watch for

Bone tumors don't produce a specific set of symptoms. Some people will confuse the symptoms of a bone tumor with typical joint pain. Doctors usually don’t check for bone tumors which is why more are discovered by accident when patients come in for unrelated health issues. In addition to pain and stiffness in your joints, bone tumors can also cause you to develop a fever or night sweats. Swelling and unexplained bruising around the bone is also common.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In most cases, a blood test or an MRI are needed to determine if a bone tumor is the source of your pain. It’s important to tell your doctor about any unusual aches or pains as soon as possible. It’s better to be safe and get the testing you need rather than wait until the pain is unbearable. As with any unusual health symptoms, early detection is the best form of treatment. Schedule a checkup with your orthopedic surgery specialists in Long Island, NY, at Peconic Bay Medical Center, and put an end to your joint pain now.