Metastatic bone cancer means the one which has “metastasised” or spread to the bones but originated in some other body part. As the metastasised cancer did not start in any part of the skeleton, its treatment needs to be different. Although treatment of metastatic bone cancer does not increase the chances of survival for long, but it will surely make the quality of life, of the patients diagnosed with it, a lot better.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, half of all cases of cancers metastasise into bone cancer. With the progress of metastasised bone cancer, the bones weaken progressively and cause pain in the pelvis, legs, ribs or spine. Anaemia and just a general feeling of being sick are quite common in metastatic bone cancer patients.
The prognosis of bone cancer metastasis depends on many factors. Some of them are severity of primary cancer, type of primary cancer and the spread of the cancer in the skeletal system. There are some primary cancers whose metastasised forms respond well to treatment while some others such as kidney cancer are very resistant to treatment. In these cases the treatments such as radiation therapy are able to control the pain to provide some relief.
Advancement in treatment procedures have allowed breast cancer patients with metastasised bone cancer to live longer. These patients not only live longer nowadays but also enjoy a better quality of life than in the past. How weak the patient would be due to the metastatic bone disease is determined by the location of cancer growth in the skeleton and its spread.
The disease affects patients in different ways. In patients with cancer in leg bones or in the pelvic area, it makes them wheelchair bound. The increase in risk of bone fracture as well as the increased pain and fatigue caused by the disease may compel them to leave their jobs. As most of the bone fractures caused by metastatic bone cancer do not heal, in spite of many efforts at getting the fractures bone back to its normal structure, the patients need to be very careful in their daily activities.
The cancer patients should be wary of developing metastasised tumours in the bone as it is important that they are detected as early as possible. Success in treatment depends on monitoring of the spread of bone metastases as precisely as possible, in order to work out the modalities of therapy.
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