The doctor makes a diagnosis through tests and procedures that examine the bones. The exams & tests done during diagnosis of bone cancer are:

Blood Test:

It is not a reliable test for diagnosis of bone cancer. But still it is done to determine the level of alkaline phosphates enzyme. This type of enzyme is high in body when there is a disease or tumor which causes abnormal bone tissue.

X- rays:

When a person is having bone cancer, the bone appears to be ragged instead of solid. Sometimes, it appears as a hole in the bone. The radiologist will tell whether the cancer is malignant or not depending on x- ray appearance of the bone. However, a biopsy is needed to determine it completely.

Computed Tomography (CT):

Unlike x- ray that takes one picture, CT scan takes multiple pictures as it rotates around your body. It is done to see detailed, cross- sectional images of our body. These scans are helpful in staging cancer. When the scanner rotates around the body, a computer combines the pictures taken to get a better view of the affected area.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI):

MRI scans is done using radio waves & strong magnets. The radio waves energy is absorbed and then released in a certain type of pattern formed by the tissue. These radio waves are captured by the computer to locate the tumor. Basically, an MRI scan is used to assess the extent of bone cancer.

Radionuclide Bone Scan:

The bone scan is done by injecting the patient with a radioactive material called technetium diphosphonate. This material is attracted to diseased bone cells and the diseased bone appears as grey or black areas known as hot spots. Radionuclide Bone Scan is done to suggest metastatic cancer but it is advised to go through further tests.

Positron Emission Tomography or PET scan:

If one is looking for cancer throughout the body, PET scan is performed. It uses glucose which contains radioactive atom & its radioactivity is detected by a special camera. It is better than other x-rays and can tell whether the tumor is cancerous or not. It gives better results when combined with CT scans.


A sample of bone is taken to have a look at it under the microscope. It is a specialized test done to diagnose bone cancer. The surgeon is able to know whether the cancer is primary bone or metastasis cancer. There are two types of biopsy methods:

Needle biopsy: A special needle is used to take sample from the bone.

Surgical biopsy: A surgical knife is used to open the area & take a sample from the bone.

Summary: The diagnosis of bone cancer should be done specialist surgeons & not by the local doctors. One can easily get to know if he/she is suffering from bone cancer.
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