What are bone metastases?

The spread of cancer and manifestation of tumors in the bone is called bone metastases. Bone metastases are frequent especially in the advanced state of certain types of cancer.
A cancer that starts in the bones occurs much less frequent than bone metastases. The bones are a common place for some types of primary cancer to spread into. Most common cancers that metastasize into the bone are: breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, renal cancer, thyroid cancer and colorectal cancer.

After detaching from the primary tumor cancer cells can travel through the body by entering the blood stream. The most common places where bone metastases occur are: spine (most common location), pelvis and upper leg and upper arm bone.

Symptoms include a wide spectrum and can also be caused by other health conditions. Usually, bone pain and accidental fractures (broken bones) are the first indication that cancer has spread into the bones.

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How to treat bone metastases?

The main aim of the treatment of bone metastases includes the control of the growth of metastases, relief of the individual pain and maintaining of a person's mobility and function. Surgery may be used in rare cases, but may help if the metastasis provides a high risk of fractures due to chronic weakening of the bone. A multimodal approach that uses radiation therapy (use of high-energy rays to damage cancer cells) and cytotoxic chemotherapy may help to shrink bone metastases and improve symptoms.
Click here to find the range of therapy options of the European Surgical Centre for Metastatic Disease.