Bone is a common place for cancer to spread. If you or a loved one is living with cancer that has spread to the bone, read on for tips to improve your quality of life.
Bone metastasis happens when cancer spreads to the bone from another part of the body where it started. It is different than primary bone cancer, which starts in the bone. Bone metastasis (sometimes called bone mets or secondary bone cancer) is not bone cancer. It is still the same cancer you started with. This might be breast cancer, prostate cancer, or another cancer.
Find Hope With Treatment
Bone metastasis is one of the most common types of metastases. It is also very treatable. Many people can live for years after learning they have bone metastasis. Treatment depends on each patient. So, your healthcare team will consider factors that are unique to you. These include your symptoms, where your bone cancer is located, and other cancer treatments you are receiving or have received.
When you discuss treatment options with your healthcare team, let them know about any symptoms you are experiencing. This might include bone or joint pain. Treatment can help lessen pain. Other ways to manage bone pain include working with a palliative care specialist, taking pain medication, or using radiation to treat pain at specific sites. Your healthcare team can help you create a management plan.
Did You Know?
Some drugs can help slow bone metastases, strengthen bone, and reduce pain. Get more details about bone-building drugs.
Boost Your Bone Strength
Your bones and joints need extra attention and care when managing bone metastasis. Common areas for cancer to spread are the hip bone, ribs, skull, spine, upper leg bone, and upper arm bone. Cancer can weaken these bones by keeping important cells from working the way they should. Weakened bones are more prone to breaking.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of fractures, including keeping your bones as strong as possible. Here are some ways to get started:
Get moving to strengthen your bones.
Exercising can help you maintain bone density, improve your balance, and boost your mood. Walking, swimming, tai chi, or yoga are gentle ways to get moving and lift your spirits. Resistance exercises can be good for building muscle strength, but there may be limits on how much weight you should lift. Since some exercises can put stress on the body, ask your healthcare team about safe forms of exercise based on your unique needs.
Nourish your bones.
A well-balanced diet can help you feel better overall and support bone health. Look for foods that are rich in vitamin D and calcium. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, and calcium helps build strong bones. Excellent sources of calcium include yogurt, canned salmon, and dark, leafy greens like kale and broccoli. Always talk with your healthcare provider before making any dietary changes. They can also tell you:
- If calcium and vitamin D supplements may be right for you
- Whether you should follow any dietary restrictions
- How you can support your bone health in other ways
Canned salmon is high in calcium, but fresh salmon is a good source, too. Try this Herbed Lemon Salmon recipe, perfect when experiencing dry mouth from radiation treatment.
Safeguard your home.
Since the risk of fractures increases with bone cancer metastasis, look for ways you can reduce your chances of falling. Check your home for potential tripping or slipping hazards and correct them. Are there any loose area rugs? Stairs without carpet or treads? Try these 8 simple tips to prevent falls.
Did You Know?
Smoking speeds up bone loss, and excessive alcohol consumption can affect the cells that build new bone. Avoid smoking and limit alcohol to help keep your bones as strong as possible.
Connect With Others
No one should have to manage a cancer diagnosis alone. Find hope and inspiration on MyLifeLine, our free digital support community for people impacted by cancer. MyLifeLine exists to easily connect patients and caregivers with their family members, friends, and others in their support community.
Create a personal network site to share updates with your loved ones and organize a helping network for things like rides to medical appointments, help with meals, childcare, and more. You can also join our discussion forums on a variety of topics, from nutrition & wellness to managing side effects. The forums are a safe space to exchange stories, coping strategies, and inspiration with other members going through similar experiences.