Bone metastases are especially common in breast, prostate, lung, thyroid, and kidney cancer.1 If you have one of these types of solid tumor cancers, it’s important for you to be informed and proactive about your bone health.
Because bone mets are more common with certain types of cancer, be sure to ask your doctor about your individual risk for bone mets. Early discussion about bone mets is important so you can take steps to prevent serious bone problems.2 Serious bone problems are defined as broken bones (fractures), a need for surgery to prevent or repair broken bones, a need for radiation treatments to the bone, or pressure on the spinal cord (spinal cord compression).1
If you have cancer, sometimes bone mets can be diagnosed before they cause any symptoms. Your doctor may schedule periodic imaging tests, such as x-rays and bone scans, as well as blood tests to see how far your cancer has spread.
IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE OPEN AND HONEST TALKS WITH YOUR DOCTOR1
In addition to regular testing and monitoring for bone mets, you should be aware of possible signs or symptoms associated with serious bone problems. These symptoms may be caused by something other than a serious bone problem, but you should tell your doctor right away if you experience a new symptom. These symptoms may indicate the need for urgent medical care.1
IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVEOPEN AND HONEST TALKS WITH YOUR DOCTOR1
If you have bone mets from a solid tumor cancer, you may want to consider medicine options to help protect your bones. These medicines work to slow down the bone damage caused by cancer and lower the risk of serious bone problems. Serious bone problems are defined as broken bones (fractures), a need for surgery to prevent or repair broken bones, a need for radiation treatments to the bone, or pressure on the spinal cord (spinal cord compression).1
Ask your doctor about your treatment options and about the risks and benefits of treatment. Risks of treatment include low blood calcium that may be life-threatening, severe jaw bone problems, unusual thigh bone fractures, and possible harm to your unborn baby.
If you have bone mets, don’t wait for bone pain before asking your doctor about steps for preventing serious bone problems. In some cases, a broken bone is the first sign of bone mets.1 So remember, bone pain is not always a reliable predictor of the risk for serious bone problems.3WHAT YOU CAN DO AS A CAREGIVER