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Cancer which develops in specific organs of the human body, including the lungs, breast, or prostate, among others, can sometimes spread into the bone, causing what is known as metastatic bone disease, or MBD. Approximately more than 1.2 million new cancer cases are diagnosed every year, where about 50 percent can spread, or metastasize, to the bones.
Through medical advancements, patients diagnosed with several different types of cancers, especially lung, breast, and prostate cancer, can live longer. However, primary cancers in more patients go through bone metastases, where they disperse to the bone. Meanwhile, other types of cancers do not disperse so easily to the bone. The most common cancers which develop in the organs and spread to the bones include:
Metastatic bone disease, or MBD, can damage and weaken the affected bone, causing pain along the site of spread. Moreover, patients with MBD are at higher risk of suffering fractures or broken bones. The painful symptoms associated with MBD can make it challenging for the patient to engage in regular physical activities. The main concern of patients with metastatic bone disease is the loss in quality of life.
The extent of the effects of metastatic bone disease on a patient can change and is associated with how cancer has spread, which bones are affected, and how severe the bone harm is. Furthermore, there is a range of treatment choices available to treat MBD. Treatment help patients deal with pain to maintain activity levels and preserve their independence.
The bones are the most common site of spread for cancers which begin in the organs, subsequent to the lung and the liver. Because many patients experience no painful symptoms of metastases to the liver and the lungs, these are often not discovered until the disease is in an advanced stage. In contrast, bone metastases are generally painful when they develop. Cancer most commonly spreads to these sites in the human skeleton:
A tumor can completely destroy the bone at the site of spread, a process referred to as osteolytic bone destruction. Damage or weakened bones are most common in cancers which have spread from the lung, thyroid, kidney, and colon. New bone, called osteoblastic, may also form due to the spread of cancer, more often seen in cancers from the stomach, bladder, and prostate.
Breast cancer often behaves in a combined osteolytic and osteoblastic method. Since the cancer cells secrete factors that interact with all the cells in the human skeleton, causing bone destruction, new bone formation, or both, osteolytic and osteoblastic metastatic bone disease happens. Also, breast cancer may commonly cause MBD in the hip and/or pelvis.
As a result of bone damage and weakness, patients with metastatic bone disease are prone to fractures. Broken bones caused by MBD are termed “pathological fractures”. Sometimes, the bone may be so weak that a fracture is imminent, termed “impending pathologic fractures”. Bedrest for lengthy intervals due to broken bones may result in chemical imbalances in the bloodstream, such as raised calcium levels, known as hypercalcemia. Patients with cancer that has spread to the spine can develop nerve damage which can result in paralysis or loss of using their arms and/or legs.
A cancer patient who experiences any pain, especially in the back, arms, and legs should notify their doctor immediately. Pain which manifests without engaging in physical activities is especially concerning. The most common symptoms of metastatic bone disease include:
Before following through with treatment for metastatic bone disease, it’s essential for the healthcare professional to understand the patient’s symptoms as well as their overall health and wellness. The doctor will ask for the patient’s medical history. After the medical history, the healthcare professional will perform a physical examination on the patient. The doctor may also utilize imaging diagnostics to help with the patient’s diagnosis.
A variety of cancers can commonly cause metastatic bone disease, or MBD, throughout different regions of the human skeleton. Bone metastases can cause painful symptoms, ultimately affecting an individual’s quality of life. Research studies have demonstrated that metastatic bone disease in the hip and/or pelvis is a prevalent health issue associated with breast cancer. Treatment may vary on the progression of the problem.
Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight
Advances in surgical techniques, as well as radiation and medical treatment approaches, have significantly improved the quality of life of patients suffering from cancer that has spread to the bone from the site of origin. Treatment options for MBD are based upon how far the cancer has spread, which bones are affected, and how the bone was damaged or weakened.
In many cases of metastatic bone disease, cancer has progressed to multiple bony sites. As a result, treatment is concentrated on managing the symptoms of pain and bone weakness as it is not intended to be curative. The most common treatment option for MBD includes drugs and/or medications, and radiation to control pain and prevent additional spread of metastatic bone disease, and surgery to stabilize weak and broken bones.
Patients with metastatic bone disease require a team approach. A medical oncologist works closely with a radiation oncologist, and an orthopaedic surgeon. Diagnosis is essential in order to follow through with the best treatment approach. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic as well as to spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Back pain is one of the most prevalent causes of disability and missed days at work worldwide. Back pain is the second most common reason for doctor office visits, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Approximately 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at least once throughout their life. The spine is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles, among other soft tissues. Because of this, injuries and/or aggravated conditions, such as herniated discs, can eventually lead to symptoms of back pain. Sports injuries or automobile accident injuries are often the most frequent cause of back pain, however, sometimes the simplest of movements can have painful results. Fortunately, alternative treatment options, such as chiropractic care, can help ease back pain through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, ultimately improving pain relief.
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