Symptoms and diagnosis of secondary bone cancer


Some of the symptoms include:

  • Bone pain
  • Weakened bones
  • Raised calcium level
  • Pressure on spinal cord

Bone pain: This is the most common symptom of secondary bone cancer.

Weakened bones: Secondary bone cancer may cause the bones to be weaker and more at risk of breaking.

Raised calcium level: This is known as hypercalcaemia. If it is raised, you may feel tired, sick, constipated, thirsty or confused.

Pressure on spinal cord: Secondary bone cancer in the spine can put pressure on the nerves in your spinal cord. This is called spinal cord compression. It may cause symptoms like pain, muscle weakness and tingling and numbness of your hands and legs.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, tell your doctor as soon as possible.


If your doctor is worried that the cancer has spread to your bones, he may arrange for you to have some of the following tests:

  • Bone scan
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Blood tests
  • PET scan
  • Biopsy

An extra blood test may be done to check the level of calcium in your blood. If secondary cancer is found before the primary cancer is diagnosed, your doctor will do some tests to find out where the cancer started. This is so that your doctors can decide on the best treatment for you.

Learn more about the above tests

Call our National Cancer Helpline

Freephone 1800 200 700 to talk to a specialist cancer nurse
It's open Monday-Thursday from 9am to 7pm and Friday from 9am to 5pm