Bone cancer is a relatively rare condition in which uncontrolled abnormal cells grow in or on skeletal tissue, specifically bone and/or cartilage. Each of the four primary forms of bone cancer, osteosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, chondrosarcoma and spindle cell, have been known to metastasise in the femur. While both the presentation and severity of the symptoms vary by individual, the Mayo Clinic has divided the most common symptoms into four categories: pain, a tender mass, bone weakness, fatigue and weight loss.
The most common symptom of bone cancer is pain or tenderness at the site of the metastasis, which is where the cancer cells enter the bone. This pain often worsens at night, according to the University of Virginia. It is not affected by rest, though it is sometimes relieved with the use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen. The pain associated with bone cancer is both long-lasting and progressive. The discomfort may be present for years, increasing in severity as the cancer grows.
As the cancer grows, it may develop an abnormal mass. This mass may or may not be visible and can often be detected by touch. According to the University of Virginia, the mass is likely to be tender or feverish to the touch. Such cancerous masses are also occasionally accompanied by a feeling of pressure. If the cancer is located on or near a joint, joint mobility may also be affected.
The bone is a living tissue comprised of an incredibly strong combination of calcium and cells that are constantly breaking down the old bone tissue and creating new. Bone cancer interferes with this process. As a result, affected bones may become weakened over time. This weakness may result in fractures that are caused by a seemingly innocuous event. The femur is the largest and strongest bone in the human body. As such, brittleness or fractures of the femur are often considered to be a symptom of a larger problem.
Fatigue and Weight Loss
Fatigue that is profound and long-lasting may be another symptom of bone cancer. Fatigue caused by bone cancer is not helped by rest and is not relative to the energy exerted. Unexplained and unintentional weight loss is yet another possible symptom of bone cancer.