Bone Metastasis - What It Is, Symptoms and Treatmentswith medicines, radiotherapy and surgery. In additionBone Metastasisoccurs when cancer cells spread from the original site to a bone. Almost all types of cancer can spread (metastasize) to the bones. But some types of cancer are particularly prone to spread to the bone, including breast cancer and prostate cancer. THEBone Metastasiscan occur in any bone, but usually occurs in the spine, pelvis and thigh. THEBone Metastasismay be the first sign of cancer, orBone Metastasismay occur years after the cancer treatment.
THEBone Metastasiscan cause pain and broken bones. With rare exceptions, the cancer that has spread to the bones can not be cured. Treatments may help reduce pain and other symptoms ofBone Metastasis.
Causes ofBone Metastasis:THEBone Metastasisoccurs when the cancer cells separate from the original tumor and spread to the bone, where they begin to multiply. Doctors are not sure what causes some types of cancer to spread. And it is unclear why some cancers travel to the bones instead of other common metastatic sites, such as the liver.
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Symptoms of Bone Metastasis:Sometimes theBone Metastasisdoes not cause signs and symptoms. When it occurs, signs and symptoms ofBone Metastasisinclude:
- Bone pain
- broken bones
- Urinary incontinence
- Intestinal incontinence
- Weakness in the legs or arms
- High levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea, vomiting, constipation and confusion
When to Contact a Physician:If you have persistent signs and symptoms that worry you, make an appointment with your doctor. If you have been treated for cancer in the past, tell your doctor about your medical history and be concerned about your signs and symptoms..
Bone Metastasis Risk Factors:Virtually any type of cancer can spread to the bones, but the cancer most likely to causeBone Metastasisinclude:
- Breast cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Prostate cancer
- Thyroid cancer
Preparing For Your Inquiry:Start by seeing your primary care doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. Tell your doctor if you have been treated for cancer in the past, even if you have been treated for cancer for many years. If you are diagnosed withBone Metastasis, you will be referred to a cancer specialist (oncologist).
Because consultations can be brief, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here is some information to help you prepare and know what to expect from your doctor. What can you do:.
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. The moment you bookmark the appointment, be sure to ask if there is anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down all the symptoms you are experiencing, including those that seem unrelated to why you scheduled the appointment. Observe how long you are going through your symptoms and what worsens or improves symptoms.
- Write down key personal information, including any important stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all the medicines, vitamins or supplements you are taking.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along: Sometimes it can be hard to remember all the information provided during a consultation. Someone accompanying you may remember something you missed or forgot.
Write down the questions to ask your doctor. Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. To theBone Metastasis, some basic questions for your doctor include:
- What is the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What types of tests do I need?
- What treatments are available and what do you recommend?
- What is my prognosis?
- Are there any experimental treatments or clinical trials available to me?
- I have these other health conditions. How will this affect my treatment?
- Is there a generic alternative to the drug you prescribe for me?
- Are there brochures or other printed materials that I can take with me? Which websites do you recommend?
- What will determine if I should plan a follow-up visit?
In addition to the questions you have been asked to ask your doctor, do not hesitate to ask additional questions that may arise during your visit.
What to Expect from Your Doctor:Your doctor will likely ask you a series of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:.
- When did you start experiencing symptoms for the first time?
- Were your symptoms continuous or did they come and go?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, does it seem to improve your symptoms?
- Does something make your symptoms worse?
Tests and Diagnosis of Bone Metastasis:Imaging tests are used to investigate signs and symptoms that may indicateBone Metastasis. What tests you suffer depends on your specific situation. Tests may include:
- Bone scanning (bone scintigraphy)
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
Treatmentsof Bone Metastasis:Treatments forBone Metastasisinclude medications, radiotherapy, and surgery. Which treatments are best for you will depend on the specifics of your situation. Medications used in people withBone Metastasisinclude:.
Bone Building Drugs:TheMedications commonly used to treat people with thin bones (osteoporosis) can also help people withBone Metastasis. These medicines can strengthen bones and reduce pain caused byBone Metastasis, reducing the need for medications for severe pain. Bone-building medicines can also reduce your risk of developing newBone Metastasis..
These medicines can be given every few weeks through a vein in the arm or through an injection. Oral forms of these medications are available, but are generally not as effective as IV forms, and can cause side effects of the digestive tract. Drugs to build bones can cause temporary bone pain and kidney problems. They increase the risk of a rare but serious deterioration of the jaw (osteonecrosis).
Chemotherapy:If the cancer has spread to several bones, your doctor may recommend chemo. Chemotherapy travels throughout your body to fight cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be taken as a pill, given through a vein, or both. Side effects depend on the specific chemotherapy drugs you receive. For cancers that are sensitive to chemotherapy, chemotherapy may be the best way to relieve pain from bone metastases..
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Hormonal Therapy:For cancers that are sensitive to hormones in the body, treatment to suppress these hormones may be an option. Breast cancers and prostate cancer are often sensitive to hormone blocking treatments. Hormone therapy may involve taking medications to reduce levels of natural hormones or drugs that block the interaction between hormones and cancer cells. Another option is surgery to remove hormone-producing organs - in women, in the ovaries and in men, in the testicles..
Medications For Pain:Pain medications can control pain caused byBone Metastasis. Pain medications may include over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), or stronger prescription pain relievers such as morphine (Avinza, MS Contin, others).
It may take time to determine which combination of pain medications works best for you. If you are taking medicines but are still in pain, tell your doctor. A pain specialist can offer additional pain relief options.
Steroids:Medications known as steroids can often help relieve the pain associated withBone Metastasis, reducing swelling and inflammation around cancer sites. These steroids are different from the types of steroids that bodybuilders or athletes use to build muscle..
These can work quite quickly to help with pain and prevent some cancer complications, but also should be used with great caution because they have side effects, especially when used for periods prolonged.
Directed Therapy:For many types of cancer, a new class of medications known as specific therapies is available. These drugs attack specific abnormalities within the cancer cells. Some types of cancer can respond very well to these treatments. For example, breast cancer cells that are HER2-positive may respond to therapy with trastuzumab (Herceptin).
External Radiotherapy:Radiation therapy uses bundles of high-energy energy, such as x-rays, to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be an option if yourBone Metastasisis causing pain that is not controlled with medicines for pain or if pain is limited to a small number of areas. Depending on your situation, bone radiation can be given in a large dose or several smaller doses over several days. The side effects of radiation depend on the site being treated and its size..
Surgery:Surgical procedures can help stabilize a bone that is at risk of breaking or repairing a broken bone.
- Surgery to stabilize the bone:If the bone is in danger of breaking due toBone Metastasis, surgeons can stabilize the bone using metal plates, screws and nails (orthopedic fixation). Orthopedic fixation can relieve pain and improve function. Often, radiation therapy is given when you have healed after surgery.
- Surgery to inject a bone with cement:Bones that can not be easily reinforced with metal plates or screws, such as bones and bones of the pelvis in the spine, can benefit from bone cement. Doctors have injected bone cement into a bone that is broken or damaged byBone Metastasis. This procedure can reduce pain.
- Surgery to Repair a Broken Bone:If theBone Metastasiscaused a bone to break, surgeons can work to repair the bone. This involves the use of metal plates, screws and nails to stabilize the bone.
Replacing the joint, such as a hip replacement, may be another option. In general, broken bones caused byBone Metastasisthey are not helped by casting a broken bone.
Heating and Freezing of Cancer Cells:Procedures for killing cancer cells with heat or cold can help control pain. These procedures may be an option if you have one or two areas ofBone Metastasisand are not helped by other treatments. During a procedure called radiofrequency ablation, a needle containing an electrical probe is inserted into the bone tumor.
The electricity passes through the probe and heats the surrounding tissue. The tissue is allowed to cool, and the process is repeated. A similar procedure called cryoablation freezes the tumor and then allows it to thaw. The process is repeated several times. Side effects may include damage to nearby structures such as nerves and bone damage that may increase the risk of a broken bone.
Intravenous Radiation:For people withBone Metastasisa form of radiation called a radiopharmaceutical can be administered through a vein. Radiopharmaceuticals use low levels of radioactive material that has a strong attraction to the bones. Once in your body, the particles travel to the areas ofBone Metastasisand release their radiation. Radiopharmaceuticals can help control pain caused byBone Metastasis. Side effects may include damage to the bone marrow, which can lead to low blood cell counts.
Clinical Trials:Clinical trials are studies of new treatments and new ways of using existing treatments. Enrolling in a clinical trial gives you a chance to try out the latest treatments. But a cure is not guaranteed, and the side effects of new treatments may not be known. Discuss the available clinical trials with your doctor..
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Physiotherapy:A physical therapist can work with you to come up with a plan that will help you increase your strength and improve your mobility. A physical therapist may suggest assistive devices to help you cope. Examples may include crutches or a walker to take the weight off of an affected bone while walking, a walking stick to improve balance or a brace to stabilize the spine. A physical therapist may also suggest specific exercises to help you maintain your strength and reduce your pain..
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