Metastasis is the process of cancer spreading to other parts of the body. In this type of cancer, the cancer cells travel to your bones through blood stream and other fluids. It is actually the cancer cells from an affected area travelling to bones in some other area and causing deposits in bones.
What are its risk factors?
All types of cancers can lead to bone metastasis. It is very difficult to predict if the particular cancer cells will spread, but certain cancers like that of breast, lung, thyroid, prostate and kidney can spread faster to bones. This is also true of larger tumours that affect the lymph nodes.
Where do metastasis occur?
Metastasis can occur in any bone of the body, but they tend to be closer to the centre of the body. The most common parts are spine, thigh bone, upper arm bone, ribs, hips and the skull.
What are the symptoms?
Excruciating pain in the bones is often the first sign. The pain usually occurs off and on but the pain may become constant as the disease progresses. It is seen that the bone pain has a tendency to increase during night time.
How does it damage bones?
Metastasis weakens the bones, especially those in the spine and the long bones in the arms and legs. What happens is with each passing day everyday activities like coughing and sitting down in a chair can cause breaking of bones. The pain is often very sudden and it is sharp.
How is it diagnosed?
The doctor will order tests and take images of the inside of the body, even when there are no symptoms. With a simple X-ray a
Doctor may be able to diagnose broken bones etc. A bone scan though is a much more exact way of knowing about your bone and if it is broken. CT, MRI and PET scans are advised if required to find out if the cancer has spread.
Treating the primary cancer
The common treatments for bone metastasis include chemotherapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy that targets the main caner. They are administered by orally, through injections and attack the cancer cells in the body.
The side effects can be nausea, vomiting, fatigue, hair loss and a high chance of getting various infections.
For pain reduction Radiotherapy can be given.
To stabilization of weak base also RT can be given. Bisphosphonate are given to prevail further base weakness.