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Prostate Cancer & Bone Health: What You Need to Know

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Prostate Cancer & Your Bones

  •  Prostate cancer sometimes spreads to the bones and that can possibly cause pain or cause fractures.
  • There are many effective treatments for prostate cancer that has spread to the bones.
  • With effective treatment, people with prostate cancer can often live for many years with an excellent quality of life.

Prostate cancer, along with lung and breast cancers, are among the most likely to spread to the bones. When cancer spreads from one organ to another, this is called a metastasis, and it can cause pain, bone weakening, bone breaks and damage to your bone health.

Related: When Cancer Spreads to Bones There are Treatment Options — Can Radiation Help?

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is very curable when treated with either radiation therapy or surgery. In certain circumstances prostate cancer may be metastatic at diagnosis or it may come back and spread to bones after initially being treated.

How Prostate Cancer May Affect Your Bones

When prostate cancer spreads, the most likely place for it to go is the bones. When cancer cells spread to the bones, they can cause many symptoms such as pain. They can also cause bone weakening and sometimes fractures. Occasionally, these cancer cells will also remove calcium from the bone and this can make it into the blood stream. When calcium levels are high in the blood this is called hypercalcemia and can cause symptoms. Because cancer that has spread to bones causes these symptoms doctors may recommend treating the areas in the bone where the cancer has spread.

What Your Doctor Can Do

Your doctor should monitor your bone health throughout your cancer care. There are treatments both for the cancer that has spread to the bone as well as for the bone symptoms such as pain and weakness.

Related: What Can You Do to Strengthen Your Bones During Cancer Treatment?

When prostate cancer metastasizes and spreads to bones doctors may use drugs such as hormonal therapy to try and stop the cancer cells from spreading and keep the cells from growing. These medications block testosterone or decrease the production of testosterone. In either case the goal of hormonal therapy it to reduce testosterone levels in the body. Since testosterone is a signal that tells prostate cancer cells to grow, reducing this signal helps to control the cancer.  Often the hormonal therapy is well-tolerated and can keep the cancer under control for months to, even, years.  Doctors may also use chemotherapy to try and kill as many cells as possible throughout the body. Sometimes using hormonal therapy and chemotherapy are both used to prevent the cancer from growing.

When is Hormonal Therapy Used to Treat Prostate Cancer?

When cancer in the bones becomes painful your doctor may recommend treating these areas with radiation. This type of radiation is called external beam radiation and is a non-invasive way of treating cancer. External radiation is very well tolerated and improves symptoms in most patients.  Occasionally, if the cancer causes a fracture or spreads to the bones of the spine your doctor may recommend you have surgery to repair the fracture or to secure the bones to prevent a fracture from occurring. Following surgery, most patients will have radiation to kill any cells that may have been left behind.

In some patients, where the cancer has spread to multiple bones, a medication called Xofigo (Radium-223) is used. Xofigo is a form of radiation that is given through an IV and selectively targets cancer that has spread to bones. Xofigo is used in patients who were on hormonal therapy, but the cancer stopped responding to the hormonal therapy and started to grow again. When prostate cancer is no longer controlled by hormonal therapy this is called castrate-resistant prostate cancer. Xofigo is used for men with castrate-resistant prostate cancer. Xofigo is not for everyone and starting this treatment should be discussed with your doctor.

When to See Your Doctor

If you have prostate cancer and have new, unexplained pain in your bones, call your doctor. If you know that you have bone metastases (prostate cancer that has spread to your bones) and the pain is worsening or spreading, call your doctor. Remember there are many options available and you should discuss these with your treating team to see what is right for you.


Learn more about SurvivorNet’s rigorous medical review process.

Prostate Cancer & Your Bones

  •  Prostate cancer sometimes spreads to the bones and that can possibly cause pain or cause fractures.
  • There are many effective treatments for prostate cancer that has spread to the bones.
  • With effective treatment, people with prostate cancer can often live for many years with an excellent quality of life.

Prostate cancer, along with lung and breast cancers, are among the most likely to spread to the bones. When cancer spreads from one organ to another, this is called a metastasis, and it can cause pain, bone weakening, bone breaks and damage to your bone health.

Related: When Cancer Spreads to Bones There are Treatment Options — Can Radiation Help?

Read More

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is very curable when treated with either radiation therapy or surgery. In certain circumstances prostate cancer may be metastatic at diagnosis or it may come back and spread to bones after initially being treated.

How Prostate Cancer May Affect Your Bones

When prostate cancer spreads, the most likely place for it to go is the bones. When cancer cells spread to the bones, they can cause many symptoms such as pain. They can also cause bone weakening and sometimes fractures. Occasionally, these cancer cells will also remove calcium from the bone and this can make it into the blood stream. When calcium levels are high in the blood this is called hypercalcemia and can cause symptoms. Because cancer that has spread to bones causes these symptoms doctors may recommend treating the areas in the bone where the cancer has spread.

What Your Doctor Can Do

Your doctor should monitor your bone health throughout your cancer care. There are treatments both for the cancer that has spread to the bone as well as for the bone symptoms such as pain and weakness.

Related: What Can You Do to Strengthen Your Bones During Cancer Treatment?

When prostate cancer metastasizes and spreads to bones doctors may use drugs such as hormonal therapy to try and stop the cancer cells from spreading and keep the cells from growing. These medications block testosterone or decrease the production of testosterone. In either case the goal of hormonal therapy it to reduce testosterone levels in the body. Since testosterone is a signal that tells prostate cancer cells to grow, reducing this signal helps to control the cancer.  Often the hormonal therapy is well-tolerated and can keep the cancer under control for months to, even, years.  Doctors may also use chemotherapy to try and kill as many cells as possible throughout the body. Sometimes using hormonal therapy and chemotherapy are both used to prevent the cancer from growing.

When is Hormonal Therapy Used to Treat Prostate Cancer?

When cancer in the bones becomes painful your doctor may recommend treating these areas with radiation. This type of radiation is called external beam radiation and is a non-invasive way of treating cancer. External radiation is very well tolerated and improves symptoms in most patients.  Occasionally, if the cancer causes a fracture or spreads to the bones of the spine your doctor may recommend you have surgery to repair the fracture or to secure the bones to prevent a fracture from occurring. Following surgery, most patients will have radiation to kill any cells that may have been left behind.

In some patients, where the cancer has spread to multiple bones, a medication called Xofigo (Radium-223) is used. Xofigo is a form of radiation that is given through an IV and selectively targets cancer that has spread to bones. Xofigo is used in patients who were on hormonal therapy, but the cancer stopped responding to the hormonal therapy and started to grow again. When prostate cancer is no longer controlled by hormonal therapy this is called castrate-resistant prostate cancer. Xofigo is used for men with castrate-resistant prostate cancer. Xofigo is not for everyone and starting this treatment should be discussed with your doctor.

When to See Your Doctor

If you have prostate cancer and have new, unexplained pain in your bones, call your doctor. If you know that you have bone metastases (prostate cancer that has spread to your bones) and the pain is worsening or spreading, call your doctor. Remember there are many options available and you should discuss these with your treating team to see what is right for you.

Learn more about SurvivorNet’s rigorous medical review process.

https://www.survivornet.com/articles/prostate-cancer-and-bone-health-what-you-need-to-know/

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