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Bone Metastases – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What are bone metastases?

A spread of primary cancer (breast/lung/kidney/intestine/prostate/cervix etc.) to the bone/s is termed bone metastases. These are a manifestation of the systemic spread of primary cancer and may need treatment based on the involvement.

Who is affected?

The majority of bone metastases have primary origins (spread from primary cancer sites). In about 10 percent of such bone metastases, no primary cancer may be identified. In addition, Primary sarcomas can result in bone metastases if untreated.

What are the symptoms of Bone Metastases?

One needs to be aware of such symptoms if treated for any cancer and meet a primary physician for evaluation.

How are bone metastases diagnosed?

Multiple tests are often required to reach a final diagnosis to guide the treatment plan. These include blood tests, plain radiographs, ultrasound, MRI scan or CT scan followed by Image-guided biopsy. Subsequently, a body scan such as a PET CT scan is done which can help identify primary cancer or stage the disease. Most of these situations are seen in already identified primary cancer.

What are the treatment options?

A multi-disciplinary team of cancer specialists who formulate a tailored plan guides treatment. The aim is to relieve pain and improve mobility for a better quality of life

  1. Chemotherapy (Helps shrink a tumor and relieve pain)
  2. Surgery (May require fixation of the bone or sometimes even major limb salvage surgeries to allow mobility)
  3. Radiotherapy (Helps relieve pain and resolve bone involvement)
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Verified By Dr Srimanth B S
MS, DNB, Lead Consultant, Orthopaedic Oncology, Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru
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