Emphasizing that the most common reasons for patients’ complaints are severe pain, swelling, limping and bone fractures, such complaints should not be neglected, Assoc. Prof. Seyit Ali Gümüştaş, M.D. explained what needs to be known about bone metastasis and new developments in treatment, and made important warnings and suggestions.
The incidence of bone metastasis, popularly known as ‘cancer spreading to the bone’, is becoming increasingly common today. Assoc. Prof. Seyit Ali Gümüştaş, M.D., Orthoist, Orthopedics and Traumatology at Acıbadem Fulya Hospital, said, “Bone metastasis indicates that the existing cancer is progressing. It is the third most common site of metastasis after the lung and liver. Depending on the type of cancer, the incidence of bone metastasis can reach 70 percent.”
It can manifest itself with these symptoms!
In recent years, as life expectancy increases in parallel with the development of cancer treatments, the frequency of encountering metastatic bone cancer also increases. Assoc. Prof. stated that in bone tumors, which generally progress slowly and are divided into two groups: benign and malignant, patients often consult a physician with complaints of pain, and the determining factor in pain is that it continues even at rest and increases in severity over time. Assoc. Prof. Seyit Ali Gümüştaş, said, “The patient may wake up at night due to pain and may not receive sufficient benefit from standard painkillers. Although pain that wakes you up at night is an indicator of malignant bone tumors, it can also rarely be seen in benign tumors. Irregularly limited, rapidly growing and painful swellings on the body and limping should also be warning signs of malignancy.”
Early diagnosis is vital!
Bone metastases, which often occur after the age of 40, indicate that the existing cancer is advanced. These patients need to be evaluated by physicians who are experts in their fields (Orthopedic Oncology physician, Medical and Radiation Oncology, Pathology, Radiology and Nuclear medicine) and their diagnosis and treatment must be decided. Assoc. Prof. Gümüştaş states that although bone metastases can develop in all bones, they are most commonly seen in the spine, pelvis, femur (thigh) and humerus (arm) region and says, “It is vital to diagnose bone metastases. In particular, it should be established that it is not caused by tumors originating from the bone itself and from any other focus than the patient’s current tumor. Otherwise, irreversible errors will occur that will seriously negatively affect the patient’s life.”
Rapid advances are being made in treatment
In recent years, thanks to rapid developments in technology and medicine, there have been very important innovations in the treatment of bone metastases. Assoc. Prof. emphasized that while some benign tumors are only monitored, surgical removal of many of them is sufficient for treatment, and the main treatment of malignant tumors originating from the bone itself will be clean removal by surgery. Dr. Gümüştaş continues, “In the treatment of some, chemotherapy or radiotherapy is applied in addition to surgery. Closed or open methods can be used in the surgical treatment of bone metastases. New developments in the treatment of bone metastases; These are closed burning (radiofrequency ablation, microwave ablation) and freezing (cryoablation) procedures accompanied by imaging (tomography, mobile x-ray).”
The tumor is burned at high temperatures
Assoc. Prof. Seyit Ali Gümüştaş, M.D., Orthoist, Orthopedics and Traumatology at Acıbadem Fulya Hospital stated that some benign bone tumors and bone metastases can be treated with Radiofrequency ablation (RF), one of the frequently used methods in recent years, by burning the tumor in a closed manner at high temperature under imaging guidance, and added, “This method is especially vital for bone metastasis patients whose general condition is not very good and who cannot tolerate open surgery. The RF ablation procedure is very specific and is performed by Orthopedics and Traumatology physicians or Interventional Radiologists who are particularly interested in bone and soft tissue tumor surgery.” Pointing out that in this method, heat has a melting/shrinking effect on the tumor and sometimes it may not require surgery, Assoc. Prof. Gümüştaş said, “It can be applied to benign and malignant bone tumors. It is an effective method with low risk and rapid results. An extra advantage is that it can be applied to bone metastases that are resistant to radiotherapy or have recurred. In selected patients, after burning the tumor with radiofrequency ablation, cementing can be safely performed from the same entry point.”