Bone Metastases :

When Cancer Spreads to the Bone

About 70% of women who have advanced metastatic breast cancer will develop bone mets

About 70% of men with advanced metastatic prostate cancer will also develop bone mets

Lung, kidney and thyroid cancers are also major causes of bone mets

WHAT ARE BONE METS?

Short for bone metastases (pronounced meh-TASS-tah-seez), bone mets occur when cancer spreads from the original tumor, which can be anywhere, to the bone.

 

HOW DOES CANCER SPREAD TO THE BONE?

Cancer cells sometimes break away from the tumor they are part of, and they usually just die. Some, however, travel through the blood stream to settle in another part of the body where they being growing. Bones are one of the more common places for these cancer cells to settle, where they form bone mets. Cancer cells can also travel through the lymph system, which is a network of narrow tubes that run throughout the body that removes toxins and waste. Cancer cells can use either the blood or lymph system to travel.

 

ARE BONE METS THE SAME AS BONE CANCER?

No. Bone cancers start in the bone like breast cancer begins in the breast or prostate cancer starts in the prostate. A patient could have breast cancer or prostate cancer that spreads to the bone, causing a bone met, not bone cancer. Bone cancer is much less common than bone mets.

 

ARE SOME BONES MORE LIKELY THAN OTHERS TO GET A BONE MET?

Yes, the more common places to find bone mets are: the upper arm and upper leg bones, the spine, the skull, the hip and the ribs.

 

ARE SOME CANCERS MORE LIKELY TO CAUSE BONE METS THAN OTHERS?

Yes. About 70% of women who have advanced metastatic breast cancer will develop bone mets.

 

BONE METS AND PROSTATE CANCER

About 70% of men with advance metastaic prostate cancer will also develop bone mets.

 

BONE METS AND LUNG CANCER

Lung, kidney and thyroid cancers are also major causes of bone mets.