Disease: Bone metastasis


    Bone metastasis occurs when cancer cells spread from their original site to a bone.

    Nearly all types of cancer can spread (metastasize) to the bones. But some types of cancer are particularly likely to spread to bone, including breast cancer and prostate cancer.

    Bone metastasis can occur in any bone but more commonly occurs in the spine, pelvis and thigh. Bone metastasis may be the first sign that you have cancer, or bone metastasis may occur years after cancer treatment.

    Bone metastasis can cause pain and broken bones. With rare exceptions, cancer that has spread to the bones can't be cured. Treatments can help reduce pain and other symptoms of bone metastases.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    Sometimes, bone metastasis causes no signs and symptoms.

    When it does occur, signs and symptoms of bone metastasis include:

    • Bone pain
    • Broken bones
    • Urinary incontinence
    • Bowel 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 see a doctor

    If you experience persistent signs and symptoms that worry you, make an appointment with your doctor.

    If you've been treated for cancer in the past, tell your doctor about your medical history and that you're concerned about your signs and symptoms.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    Bone metastasis occurs when cancer cells break away from the original tumor and spread to the bones, where they begin to multiply.

    Doctors aren't sure what causes some cancers to spread. And it's not clear why some cancers travel to the bones rather than to other common sites for metastasis, such as the liver.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    Imaging tests are used to investigate signs and symptoms that may indicate bone metastasis. Which tests you undergo depends on your specific situation.

    Tests may include:

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

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Coping and support

    Coping with bone metastasis requires more than enduring bone pain. It also involves coming to terms with the news that your cancer has spread beyond its original site.

    Cancer that has metastasized can be very difficult to cure, though people can live several years with bone metastasis. Your doctor will work to minimize your pain and to maintain your function so that you can continue your daily activities.

    Each person finds his or her own way to cope with a cancer diagnosis. Until you find what works best for you, consider trying to:

    • Find out enough about bone metastasis to make decisions about your care. Ask your doctor about the details of your cancer and your treatment options. Ask about trusted sources of further information. If you do research on your own, good places to start include the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.
    • Find someone to talk with. Although friends and family can be your best allies, in some cases they may have difficulty coping with the shock of your diagnosis. In these cases, talking with a counselor, medical social worker, or a pastoral or religious counselor can be helpful. Ask your doctor for a referral.
    • Connect with other cancer survivors. You may find comfort in talking with other cancer survivors. Cancer survivors can provide unique insight into your situation. Contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society to find cancer support groups in your area.
    • Come to terms with your illness. Coming to terms with the fact that your cancer may no longer be curable can be difficult. For some people, having a strong faith or a sense of something greater than themselves makes this process easier.

      Others seek counseling from someone who understands life-threatening illnesses, such as a medical social worker, psychologist or chaplain. Many people also take steps to ensure that their end-of-life wishes are known and respected by writing down their wishes and discussing them with their loved ones.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Risk factors

    Virtually any type of cancer can spread to the bones, but the cancers most likely to cause bone metastasis include:

    • Breast cancer
    • Kidney cancer
    • Lung cancer
    • Lymphoma
    • Multiple myeloma
    • Prostate cancer
    • Thyroid cancer

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

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