Unfortunately the skeleton is a common place for cancers to spread to, especially the lower limbs and pelvis. The common cancers to do this are from Breast, Lung, Thyroid, Prostate and Kidney. Some blood cancers also spread commonly to the bone, e.g. myeloma and lymphoma.
The main symptom is that of pain, leading to restricted mobility. Untreated there is a risk the bone can weaken and break. Any patient with severe bone pain should therefore seek medical advice. We receive a number of referrals from oncologists (cancer doctors). Treatment may consist of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or other specialised treatments to control pain and strengthen the bone.
If the bone is very weak or the cancer is near a joint and not responding to other treatment, then surgery may be necessary. This may involve strengthening the bone by placing a rod inside the bone (intramedullary nail), or performing a specialised joint replacement and removing the diseased bone (massive endoprosthesis). The decision making in this setting is made in conjunction with the oncologist.
X-ray showing an extensive mass in the upper thing bone (femur)
MRI showing the same patient with tumour inside and outside the bone. This is malignant melanoma that has spread to the bone
Surgery was performed to remove the entire cancerous bone and replace it with a giant hip replacement (massive endoprosthesis).