This is the commonest tumor encountered in orthopedic oncology practice. Cancer in any other organ of body (e.g. Lung, breast, kidney, prostate, thyroid, head neck etc) can spread to bones. This is known as bone metastasis. Most of these patients are advanced cancers and beyond cure.
This can weaken the bone, can cause bone fractures and intractable pain. This may not kill the patient directly but accounts of measurable life and suffering. Metastasis to spinal column can result into devastating complications like paralysis of extremities and loss of control of urine and stool functions.
Any cancer spreading to bone means that the cancer is now in advance stages. Most of such patients cannot be cured. But the treatment is still very important as painfree and independent life is right of every patient.
When the patient has an advance cancer and is unlikely to get cured, further treatment is based on prediction of survival. i.e. first step is to predict how much time patient is likely to have or the” projected survival”. Any major intervention is sought for only when the surgeon thinks that the likelihood of survival is in excess of 3 months or more. There are formulae to predict the overall survival in such patients.
Treatment is palliative care which means making the remaining life better and if possible, longer.
In most cases surgery is done so that patient becomes pain free and starts walking as soon as possible, preferably immediately.
Surgery may range from curettage to a proper radical limb salvage surgery.
Most patients need radiation and chemotherapy after the surgery.