What are the prognoses for metastatic bone cancer?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 27, 2011

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Before we discuss the prognoses of metastatic bone cancer, it may be pertinent to explain a bit about the facts, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this debilitating disease. Metastatic bone cancer does not originate in the bone. The prognosis indicates that treatments do not prolong life but definitely improve the quality of life of patients.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 50 per cent of cancers develop into metastatic bone cancer having spread through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system to other organs in the body. Persons with kidney, lung, prostate, breast, thyroid cancer are at risk of developing metastatic bone cancer.

The progress of metastatic bone cancer is characterised byweak bones; pain in the arms, legs, pelvis and spine. Paralysis often occurs on account of nerve damage by these cancerous tumours. Sleeping is difficult as the person cannot find a pain free resting position. A feeling of tiredness and general feeling of ill health is a common symptom, as is anaemia andfatigue in persons suffering from metastatic bone cancer.

Treatment of metastatic bone cancer depends on how far it has spread in the person’s skeletal system. Radiation, radio frequency ablation, surgery, chemotherapy are the treatment options. For persons who are active and are still in good health, surgeons will fit screws, plates or braces on bones to avoid fracture. Use of narcotics controls the pain associated with metastatic bone cancer and allows the person to overcome sleeplessness.

Many persons suffering from metastatic bone cancer in their legs or pelvis are wheelchair bound. Mobility is a severe problem with the risk of bone fractures, which do not heal easily despite surgical attempt at correcting the fracture.

The bone cancer metastasis prognosis varies among individuals according to a number of factors. Some of these are the overall health of the individual, the type of primary cancer and the extent of spread in the skeletal system and the bones that are involved. For example, metastatic bone cancer, coupled with kidney cancer, is extremely resistant to treatment. Lung cancer that has metastsised to the bone has very poor prognosis.

In such cases radiation is used to control the pain resulting from metastatic bone cancer. The prognosis of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer that has metastatised to bone are now living longer and enjoy a better quality of life than before.

In conclusion, metastatic bone cancer does not originate in the bone but spread or metastises from other cancerous organs through the blood stream or though the lymphatic system to the skeletal system of the person.According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 50 per cent of cancers develop into metastatic bone cancer. Symptoms of the disease are weak bones, pain in the bones of the arms, legs, pelvis and spine. It sometimes results in paralysis on account of nerve damage from the cancerous tumours.

Treatment options are by radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. For persons who are in good health surgeons fit screws, braces and plates to avoid further fractures. Despite these, metastatic bone cancer patients are wheelchair bound.

With advancement in treatments the prognosis of metastatic bone cancer is much improved in recent years.



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