Pain is the most common symptom of bone metastases. Pain from bone metastases may be made worse by movement during normal daytime activities, but sometimes can be worse at night or at rest.
Bone metastases can weaken bones, putting them at risk for breaking (fracture). In some cases, a fracture is the first sign of bone metastases. Bones of the arms and legs as well as those in the spine are the most common ones to break or fracture.
If cancer spreads to the bones that make up the spine, occasionally it may push on the spinal cord causing a spinal cord compression. Signs of this include back pain, numbness or weakness, trouble urinating or having a bowel movement. If any of these symptoms develop, you should call your cancer doctors and seek emergency care right away.
Bone metastases may cause calcium to be released from the bones into the bloodstream. The increased calcium can cause loss of appetite, nausea, thirst, constipation, tiredness or confusion. If you notice these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor right away.
In some cases, you have no noticeable symptoms or signs that the cancer has spread to the bone. Rather, you may come in for a routine follow-up visit and the cancer is found during your exam or on imaging scans.