In a previous blog published on the GDO website, we discussed breast cancer bone metastasis, which occurs when breast cancer metastasizes in an area of bone. To accompany that blog, we’ll now discuss prostate cancer bone metastasis, which is similar in many ways to its breast cancer counterpart but also differs in some significant aspects.
As always, this information is meant to be purely educational and is no substitute for tangible medical advice. If you or a loved one is suffering from prostate cancer and is concerned about the possibility of bone metastasis, consult your specialists immediately.
Prostate cancer bone metastasis occurs when prostate cancer spreads to the bones. When prostate cancer does spread outside of the prostate itself, bones are among the most common organs they first spread to. Prostate cancer bone metastasis occurs slightly more often than breast cancer bone metastasis, as over 60% of men suffering from advanced prostate cancer will eventually develop bone metastasis.
The most common symptoms include pain and swelling in a bone, and prostate cancer bone metastasis occurs most commonly associated with stage IV or D2 prostate cancer. Additional, less overt symptoms include increased nausea, constipation, and weakness.
Bones gradually become very weak, making fractures more likely to occur. With the underlying bone being weak, these fractures can happen with minimal injury or trauma. A fracture through a tumor, as is common with these cases, is called a pathologic fracture.
Many common treatments for prostate cancer can weaken the bones, making a fracture after metastasis all the more likely.
This really depends on what part of the body is impacted by the fracture. If the fracture takes place in a lower extremity, surgery is often required to preserve the ability to walk and function as well as possible. Upper extremity fractures do often call for surgery as well, though not quite as often. Lastly, if a fracture or bone destruction occurs around a joint as a result of metastasis, joint replacement may be the best option.
Yes, in some cases if a large tumor is discovered by a surgeon, they will affix specialized hardware to prevent fracture. This is called prophylactic fixation. Other treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation, or medications that strengthen the bone.
Additionally, there are many resources online that discuss the steps one can take to maintain the greatest possible bone health while undergoing prostate cancer treatment. While this will not prevent bone metastasis, it can help to mitigate the likelihood of a fracture or serious injury.
We encourage any patient with a painful metastatic tumor to have themselves evaluated by an orthopedic oncology specialist, like the team at Greater Dallas Orthopaedics. Having treated more of these patients than anyone else in the DFW region, we have the expertise to treat bone metastasis through minimally invasive, cutting-edge treatments tailored to suit each patient’s unique needs. The goal of treatment is to return the patient to maximum pain-free activities as quickly as possible.
While prostate cancer bone metastasis may be a concerning diagnosis, treatment for these tumors has advanced rapidly over the past decade. Your team at Greater Dallas Orthopaedics is here to provide insight, support, and innovative treatment strategies to ensure you or your loved one is equipped to return to function promptly. Reach out to GDO today to learn more.