In our 2018 patient survey, 20% of people experienced bone or joint pain as a symptom prior to their diagnosis. However, this common leukaemia symptom can easily be mistaken for conditions such as arthritis or growing pains.
Depending on where it is felt, bone pain can be a sharp pain or a constant dull ache in one or more bones. It differs from muscle or joint pain because it is present regardless of whether you are moving or not. Bone pain caused by leukaemia is most commonly felt in the long bones of the arms and legs, or in the ribs and sternum of the rib cage.
Joint pain in the wrists or ankles and swelling of large joints, such as the hips and shoulders, is usually experienced later, sometimes weeks after bone pain first begins.