Metastatic Bone Disease
Metastatic bone disease is a condition where cancer has sadly spread to bone. It can affect any bone in the body. Certain cancers are more prone to spread to bone than others, namely: breast, prostate, kidney, lung and thyroid.
As medical therapies continue to improve patients are living longer and longer with cancer and when it affects bone it now more important than ever to ensure that it is treated with surgical solutions that improve function, relieve pain and allow continued independence of the patient and are unlikely to fail.
Depending on where the bone has become diseased, the symptoms and the health of the patient – surgery may be needed. Other therapies such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy may also be considered. The approach is individualised to each patient.
How do I know?
When experiencing MBD, pain is usually what prompts the patient to seek medical attention. Rarely is metastatic bone disease an incidental finding during a routine examination. Patients usually describe pain that is worse during the night, and may feel like a bad toothache.
If you have a previous diagnosis of cancer and you develop bone pains – please consult your family practitioner or oncologist. Typically if metastatic bone disease is not treated, the symptoms will worsen.
What can I do about it?
While not curative, surgery can help prevent or manage some of the problems associated with metastatic bone disease of the hip, and can prevent the bone from fracturing (breaking) or treat a fracture if it already has occurred.
One of the commonest areas involved is the hip joint and pelvis. The aim of surgery is to reconstruct the area diseased with one operation that allows immediate weight bearing and restores function to the patient.
Things to consider
Treating metastatic bone disease may not increase the length of time a patient lives, but can increase the patient’s overall quality of life. Most patients think surgery is worth enduring if it gives them more months of a more active, less painful, life. The ultimate decision on what treatment to undergo is decided on a very tailored patient basis.