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Bone Metastasis

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Bone metastasis occurs when the tumor breaks from its original place and migrates to other sites in the body, where it starts to multiply and grow. Bone metastasis is advanced cancer. Generally, all cancers can migrate to bones, but some cancers, like prostate cancer, lung cancer, and breast cancer, have a higher chance of bone metastasis.

Types of Bone Metastasis

Bone metastasis can be classified into two categories:

  • Osteolytic: This type of bone metastasis can be characterized by the destruction of the bone. Multiple myeloma, melanoma, and non-small lung cancer cause this type of bone metastasis. In this type, osteoclast is triggered by bone destruction and not by the tumor. 
  • Osteoblastic: This type of bone metastasis is characterized by the deposition of new bone over the bone surface. It occurs in the case of prostate cancer, carcinoid, and medulloblastoma. However, the mechanism of this type of cancer is still not clearly understood.

Symptoms of Bone Metastasis

Common symptoms of bone metastasis are:

  • Pain in bones
  • Broken bones
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Weakness in legs and arms
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme thirst
  • Nausea
  • High calcium levels in the blood

Causes of Bone Metastasis

  • Bone metastasis is caused when the cell from the original tumor breaks and somehow migrates to the bone. These cells start to multiply and start cancer formation at the new site.
  • In certain types of cancers like advanced breast cancer and advanced prostate cancer, there is about a 70% chance of bone metastasis. 
  • Having some cancer also increases the chances of developing bone metastasis:
    • Kidney cancer
    • Lung cancer
    • Thyroid cancer

Diagnosis of Bone Metastasis 

  • Plain Radiograph: Plain radiography is the most common test performed to detect the presence of a lesion on the bone. However, this method does not detect the tumors until they are larger than 1 to 2 centimeters. By the time of diagnosis through this method, the bone density would have already reduced to 50% of the original mass.  
  • CT scan: CT scan is more sensitive than plain radiography. The sensitivity of the CT scan is about 74% higher than plain radiography. It helps to detect the lesions present on the bones. CT scan also helps in determining the stage of bone metastasis.
  • MRI Scan: The specificity and sensitivity of the MRI scan are high. It also helps in determining the involvement of the bone marrow cells in bone metastasis. 
  • Biopsy: A sample of tissue is withdrawn from the tumor and is examined for the presence of cancerous cells.

Treatment for Bone Metastasis

At HCG Manavata Cancer Center, our specialists strive to offer the best bone metastasis treatment in Nashik, Maharashtra. Some of the treatment options for metastatic bone cancer treatment are:


  • Medicines That Help in Bone-Building: A few medicines help in increasing bone density. It is used in cases where the patient’s bone density is reduced. 
  • Intravenous Radiation: Radioactive radiopharmaceuticals are injected into the patient’s veins. These materials have a great affinity toward the bones. On traveling to the location of bone metastasis, they emit radiation and kill the tumors.
  • Hormone Therapy: It is used for cancers that are sensitive to hormones. In such cases, the release of such hormones is regulated using medicines. 
  • Pain-relieving Medicines: Some painkiller medicines are also prescribed to the patient to decrease the pain caused by bone metastasis. 
  • Steroids: Medicines like steroids also help in decreasing the pain, swelling, and inflammation caused due to bone metastasis. 

Other Treatments

  • Bone Repair: When a bone is fractured or damaged due to bone metastasis, surgeries may be performed to fix it. These bones are fixed by using metal plates, screws, and nails.
  • Injecting Cement into Bone: In this procedure, a material known as cement is filled into the bones. Cement is filled in the bones in cases where it is impossible to reconstruct bones using screws and metal plates. 
  • Freezing: In this procedure, the tumors are frozen at a very low temperature. Low temperatures halt the internal activities of the tumor cells and cause their death. This procedure needs to be performed several times

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the complications of bone metastasis?

The complications associated with bone metastasis include:

  • Hypocalcemia
  • Bone fracture
  • Spinal cord suppression
  • Cancer cachexia
2. Which factors increase the risk of developing bone metastasis?

Following are the risk factors for bone metastasis:

  • Age
  • Menopause
  • Body mass index
  • Size of tumor
  • Involvement of lymph node
  • Genetics
3. What are the survival chances in case of bone metastasis?

The survival rates vary from patient to patient. Various factors, such as the stage of the disease, the patient’s age, the overall condition of the patient, etc., impact the survival rates in patients with bone metastasis. Patients with bone metastases along with tumor masses have a low survival rate compared to those with bone metastasis without tumor masses. 

4. How is bone metastasis different from bone cancer?

Bone cancer is a condition where cancer originates and develops in the bone. Bone metastasis means that the cancer is not starting in the bones. Instead, it is migrating from other organs to the bone after breaking from the original tumor and causing cancer in the bone. 

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