Bone-directed therapy can specifically target bone metastasis and help alleviate its side effects.
The bones are a common site for cancer metastasis. Composed of various proteins and minerals, bone is a growing tissue that is constantly changing. Some bone cells break down old bone tissue, while others form new bone tissue. Cancer can affect these cells and prevent them from functioning properly.
Bone metastases are often treatable. For instance, bone-directed therapy may be a treatment option for breast or prostate cancer that has spread to the bones. This treatment cannot cure bone metastasis; instead, its goals are to relieve the associated pain and prevent complications, such as weakened bones, fractures and dangerously high blood calcium levels, and also to prevent further cancer spread.
Treatment Options for Bone Metastasis
Treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, radiopharmaceuticals and immunotherapy can be effective for treating cancer that has spread to the bones. However, bone-directed therapy can more specifically target bone metastasis and its side effects. Some options include:
- Bisphosphonates – A class of drugs that can be administered orally or intravenously, bisphosphonates can help prevent the loss of bone density by slowing down the bone remodeling process. Bisphosphonates may also be prescribed to patients who have osteoporosis or early menopause brought on by certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and aromatase inhibitors.
- Denosumab – Like bisphosphonates, denosumab works by inhibiting the activity of osteoclasts, a type of bone cell that normally helps keep the bones healthy by breaking down and absorbing the hard mineral structure of old bones. Osteoclasts often become overactive when cancer spreads to the bones.
Living With Bone Metastasis
During and after bone-directed therapy, it is important to keep the bones as strong and healthy as possible. Toward that end, most physicians recommend:
- Exercising regularly
- Consuming a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
- Taking appropriate dietary supplements
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Not smoking
- Taking steps to prevent falls, such as installing and using grab bars
Effective Bone-Directed Therapy
Tampa General Hospital provides comprehensive and effective treatment options for bone metastasis, including bone-directed therapy. We are dedicated to providing our cancer patients with the highest level of care and providing world-class outcomes. Tampa General Hospital has earned “high performing” designation for cancer care by U.S. News & World Report for 2023-24, meaning we are ranked among the top 10% of U.S. hospitals.