Prostate Cancer Bone Metastases

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men in the United States. About 80 percent of patients with advanced prostate cancer develop bone metastases—which means their prostate cancer has spread to the bone. Once cancer cells settle in the bone, they begin to interfere with the normal health and strength of the bones, leading to bone pain, fracture or other complications that can significantly impair a person’s health. An x-ray is used to determine where the cancer has spread.

Treatment

Treatment depends in part on the patient’s prior treatment of the prostate cancer. If surgery or radiation was the initial treatment, measures can be taken to reduce testosterone production either through medication or by surgical removal of the testes.

Some patients may also receive antiandrogen medications. If these therapies do not prove effective, hormonal or chemotherapy might be the next step. Radiation therapy or radioactive drugs may relieve pain, but for a long period. Drugs being used to treat osteoporosis and breast cancer metastases have been effective in treating patients with prostate cancer metastates. Called bisphosponate drugs, they help to prevent breakdown of bone.