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Metastatic Bone Disease

Metastatic Bone disease refers to a cancer that has spread from a primary cancer in the body, to the bone. When a primary cancer spreads to the bone, it results in what we call bone metastases.

Symptoms of metastatic bone disease can include:

  • Pain in the bone and joints that isn’t relieved by mild over the counter pain relief
  • Fracture
  • Urinary and bowel incontinence
  • Weakness in the legs or arms
  • High levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea, vomiting, constipation and confusion

Nearly all cancers can spread to the bone but the most common ones are prostate, breast, lung, kidney, thyroid or melanoma.

Your Doctor will do a physical examination and take a medical history, they may request some of the following tests:

  • Blood test
  •  X-ray
  • CT or MRI scans
  • PET scan
  • Bone biopsy

Your treatment will be specific to your case.

After careful history and physical examination, your surgeon will order appropriate tests, in order to get more information on the tumour, and also to determine if the tumour has spread to other parts of the body. If the primary cancer (where the cancer started) is not known, tests will be done to try and find where it is.

Sometimes a biopsy may be required to confirm the diagnosis. A biopsy is a sample of tissue, taken from the tumour. This is sent to a pathologist who examines the tissue under a microscope in order to confirm the diagnosis. Your case may also be discussed amongst a team of cancer specialists at an MDT (Multi-Disciplinary Team) Meeting prior to elaborating a treatment plan.

Your surgeon will discuss your particular treatment plan in detail and answer any questions you may have at your appointment.



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