Secondary bone cancer

Secondary bone cancer treatment at GenesisCare

We’re specialists in the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating all types of cancer, including advanced cancers that have spread to the bones. Our teams of highly trained cancer specialists work together to evaluate the newest, evidence-based approaches so we can offer these to every patient – without delay.

Chapter 1

Overview

Secondary bone cancers, also known as bone cancer metastases, occur when cancer cells spread (metastasise) to the bones from a tumour that started in another part of the body.

The area where the tumour first develops is called primary cancer. Sometimes, cancer cells can break away from the primary tumour and move through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to another part of the body, where they create a new, secondary cancer.  

Some particular types of cancer are more likely to spread to the bones than others, such as prostatebreast, lungthyroid, and kidney cancerCancers can also metastasise to any bone in the body. Occasionally, only one bone is affected, but for most people with secondary bone cancer, it spreads to several different sitesThe most common areas of secondary bone cancer are the: 

  • Spine 
  • Ribs 
  • Pelvis 
  • Upper bone of the arm (humerus) 
  • Upper bone of the leg (femur) 
  • Skull 
Chapter 2

Diagnosis

How is secondary bone cancer diagnosed?

We understand that this can be a difficult time for you, and we’ll make sure you can get the expert care you need without delay. Most people with secondary bone cancer are diagnosed after knowing they have primary cancer somewhere else.  

In some cases, secondary bone cancer may be found before you’ve been diagnosed with primary cancer. If the primary cancer can’t be found, you may hear this called a “cancer of unknown primary”.  

Doctors typically diagnose secondary bone cancer with a combination of tests. Some of these tests are available at GenesisCare and include: 

Secondary bone cancer symptoms

Secondary bone cancer can cause a range of symptoms, and there are treatments we can offer to help alleviate these and improve your quality of life. Your consultant will monitor your health and wellbeing to provide you with care that’s personalised to your needs and choices.  

Some secondary bone cancer symptoms depend on the location of your cancer, but the most common symptoms include: 

  • Bone pain 
  • Weak bones and bone fracturing 
  • Back pain 
  • Low levels of different types of blood cells – this is caused when your bone marrow isn’t able to work as well (where blood cells are made) and can cause problems such as anaemia, low immunity or bruising and bleeding more easily 
  • Increased calcium levels in the blood (hypercalcaemia) – this can make you feel sick, tired, constipated, very thirsty or confused 
  • Pressure on the spinal cord – this can cause additional symptoms, including pain in the back or neck, weakness in your muscles and legs, numbness and losing bladder or bowel control (incontinence) 

Contact us

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to the doctor who is currently treating you or contact us in confidence for fast access to tests and scans. We can also help you with a second opinion for your reassurance.
Contact us
Chapter 3

Treatment

Although it’s not possible to completely irradicate this type of cancer, the aim of secondary bone cancer treatment is usually to control and alleviate symptoms.

The treatment you’ll have will depend on your primary cancer. Your consultant will assess your symptoms, diagnosis and general health together with a team of oncologists (doctors specialising in cancer), pathologists, radiologists and nurses to decide the best course of treatment for you – while also taking your personal wishes into consideration.

At GenesisCare, we’ll support you throughout your treatment and we have range of the latest secondary bone cancer therapies available. You may be offered one or a combination of drug treatments, radiotherapy, surgery or Theranostics. 

There may also be opportunities to access clinical trials for the latest treatments for secondary bone cancer. 

Drug treatments for secondary bone cancer 

  • Hormone therapy – a range of different treatments which lower hormone levels to control secondary bone cancers from the breast and prostate   
  • Chemotherapy – anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs which destroy the cancerous cells  
  • Targeted therapy – a specialised group of drugs that attack or block certain processes in the cancer cells  
  • Immunotherapy – therapies that help your body’s immune system recognise and fight the cancer  
  • Bisphosphonates – medicines that strengthen bones, reducing the risk of bone fractures and hypercalcaemia 

Radiotherapy for secondary bone cancer 

Radiotherapy uses high-energy radiation beams which are targeted at the cancer cells. For secondary bone cancers, it can help control pain and prevent your bones from fracturing. 

At GenesisCare, we use advanced radiotherapy techniques such as volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) and stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) to treat secondary bone cancer. These treatments maximise delivery of radiation to the cancer, while the surrounding healthy tissues receive a much lower dosereducing the risk of side effects when compared to other conventional radiotherapy treatments.  

Surgery for secondary bone cancer 

There are different operations that can strengthen bones, reduce pressure on the spinal cord and remove cancer from the bones, depending on the location of the secondary cancer. This can be arranged conveniently at one of our partner hospitals. Your other treatments can then continue at GenesisCare. 

Theranostics 

Theranostics is an innovative and highly personalised approach that combines diagnostic imaging and radionuclide therapy to seek and destroy advanced (metastatic) cancers without damaging surrounding healthy tissue.

Chapter 4

Why choose us?

GenesisCare is a leading private provider of cancer care, offering the latest innovations and techniques that are proven to be safe and effective. If you choose us for bone cancer treatment you will be under the care of a team of experts, including consultant oncologists and surgeons. They will design a personalised care plan based around your diagnosis and preferences, with treatment starting within days if needed. Every patient is also supported through their journey with life-changing therapies, such as exercise medicine and psychological support.

Our dedicated cancer centres are convenient and easy-to-access. You can use your private medical insurance, and we’re recognised by all leading insurers. 

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, our priority is to continue providing the very best cancer care with meticulous measures in place to ensure our patients receive the treatments they need safely and without delay. You can find out more about our COVID-19 safety measures here. 

We are proud that so many patients rate our care as excellent as we help them through their cancer journey. Find out more about the unique experiences of people who have had their cancer diagnosis or treatment at GenesisCare in our patient stories section.