Oakwood Solicitors

Bone Cancer

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What is Bone cancer?

Bone cancer is a rare type of cancer that initiates in the bones. This needs to be differentiated from secondary bone cancer that starts in another part of the body before passing to the bones. There are around 550 new cases diagnosed each year.


Bone Cancer

What are the symptoms?

Bone cancer can affect any bone in the body, but it mainly affects the legs and upper arms.

The main symptoms are:

  • Lumps on a bone
  • Weak bones that tend to break more easily
  • Swelling and redness
  • Pain that gets worse over time
  • Fatigue
  • High temperature
  • Weight loss
  • Sweating

What are the causes?

As with a lot of cancers, it is often impossible to advise why a cancer manifests itself. There are times, however, that bone cancer might be triggered due to:

  • Radiation – exposure to radiotherapy
  • Paget’s disease – some people with this disease may get bone cancer but the majority would not
  • Li-Fraumeni Syndrome – people with this condition have a faulty gene that causes the growth of cancerous cells
  • Hereditary retinoblastoma


How is it diagnosed?

There are a variety of imaging tests that can assist in locating a bone tumour. The tests that medical experts would suggest depend on the signs and symptoms.

Tests could include:

  • Bone scan
  • Computerized tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • X-ray

The best way to identify bone cancer is to take a biopsy of the bone and then send it for testing. This will then allow the medical professionals to decide what kind of bone cancer a patient has.

There are two different kinds of biopsies:

  • Core Needle – a thin needle is inserted under anaesthetic (either local or general) to take a small sample of tissue
  • Open Biopsy – a cut is made in the affected bone and a small sample of tissue is removed, usually under general anaesthetic

The biopsy will then allow doctors to decide whether the tissue is cancerous and then what kind of cancer a patient may have. It also shows whether a cancer is likely to grow slowly or more rapidly.

Variations of Bone Cancer

  • Osteosarcoma – this is the most common form of bone cancer. The cancer cells actually produce bone and it often occurs in children and teenagers. It occurs mainly in the bones of the legs or the arm.
  • Chondrosarcoma – the cancer cells produce cartilage. It occurs mainly in the pelvis, legs or arms and affects middle-aged and older adults.
  • Ewing sarcoma – these tumours are formed in the pelvis, legs or arms of children and young adults.

As some teenagers enter puberty they may develop bone tumours due to their rapid growth.



Each bone cancer is very different and treatment will depend on the kind of cancer, a patient’s present health, what they decide to choose and the phase of that cancer. The three main treatments include:

  • Surgery – the main goal is to ensure that all limbs are preserved. This is not always possible but the objective is to remove all of the cancerous tumour. The surgery usually would involve removing the tumour as well as part of the surrounding tissue to prevent any spreading. The surgeon may have to replace part of the removed bone with bone from another part of the body or will use a piece of metal or plastic.
    It may be necessary to remove all or part of a limb in amputation surgery. An artificial limb may then have to be used or fitted.
  • Chemotherapy – a patient could receive anti-cancer drugs through an intravenous drip. This form of treatment is not always suitable for every bone cancer. It can give a list of side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea, ulcers in the mouth, lethargy, immunosuppression, hair loss and infertility. Most of these effects would disappear once treatment has been completed.
  • Radiation Therapy – a patient could be treated with X-Rays or other forms of high powered beams of energy that would kill the cancer cells. The rays would be aimed at the specific location of the bone cancer. This therapy could be used before surgery to prevent amputation or after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. The side effects include irritation of the skin, nausea, hair loss, lethargy and joint pain.

Long term complications prognosis

The prognosis for bone cancer patients will depend on the kind of cancer and how far it is has spread.

Bone cancerBone cancer

Who is affected?

The cause of bone cancers is not known. It is thought that some cancers are due to hereditary conditions but others may be due to radiation exposure.

Charities/Useful Websites:

Bone Cancer Research Trust – they are the leading charity fighting bone cancer. Their mission is to save lives and patients outcome with research into bone cancer.

Skeletal Cancer Action Trust – they are dedicated to the advancement of bone cancer research and providing the best care and support at each stage.

How do I make a claim?

Osteosarcoma affects young children and adults and can often be misdiagnosed by medical professionals as ‘growing pains’ or muscle strains.

It is vital that bone cancer of all kinds are diagnosed as soon as possible to ensure the best survival rate, and to allow isolation of the cancer before it spreads. The survival rate can then often drop.

Bone cancers can be misdiagnosed for a variety of reasons:

  • Unclear symptoms of the disease
  • Radiographs appear normal
  • Findings on radiographs may have such small changes that they are not detectable
  • Human error
  • Insufficient training of medical staff
  • Inadequate resources for GPS such as the correct imaging equipment

If you feel that a medical professional has misdiagnosed your cancer for any of the above reasons, then you could be entitled to compensation. The team at Oakwood Solicitors will be able to give you free advice on the prospects of your case and whether you would be eligible to make a claim.

You have three years from the misdiagnosis to pursue a case, so do not delay.

How long will my case take to run?

Given the complexities involved in pursuing Clinical Negligence claims, they can often take 18-24 months to conclude and longer if Court proceedings have to be issued. Our investigations start by obtaining all relevant records and protocols before approaching independent medical experts for their opinion. We will provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.



How much is my claim worth?

It is often difficult to value clinical negligence claims at their outset given the complexities involved however we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:

  • Firstly – we will pursue compensation known as general damages. This is an award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.
  • Secondly – we will pursue compensation known as special damages. This is an award of money for all of your out of pocket expenses such as travel expenses, medication costs, loss of earnings, treatment costs both past and future. This list is not exhaustive and is very case-specific.

Why use Oakwood Solicitors to make your Clinical Negligence case?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of Clinical Negligence.

Oakwood Solicitors wishes to ensure that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon, medical terms that they don’t understand and aims to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.

How is my case funded?

The majority of Clinical Negligence cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a ‘no-win, no-fee’ agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay up front and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost. If you are successful in your claim, a deduction of 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.

It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations. If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point. The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.


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Carol Cook

Head of Department - Medical Negligence

0113 200 9780

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