Secondary bone cancer is a cancer that started somewhere else in the body and has now spread to the bones. Once you discover that you have, or could have, secondary bone cancer, you will quickly want to discover which treatment options you have available to you.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Understand the facts. Primary bone cancer is rather rare, but secondary bone cancer is diagnosed in about 575,000 people each year. Those who have had cancer of the kidneys have a higher risk of developing secondary bone cancer years later. The most common symptom of secondary bone cancer is pain in the bones and joints, especially the knees. If continuing pain occurs, consult your doctor.
Talk to your doctor about treatments that are available. Expect to learn about various treatments, such as a combination of chemotherapy and radiation delivered at the same time. Medications may also be given to enhance radiation effects. It is also possible that limb-saving surgery may be needed. Radiation may also be used to help reduce the pain often associated with secondary cancer.
Get access to the most recently developed treatment methods by participating in clinical trials. For a list of cancer trials in which you might be able to participate, go to the National Cancer Institute's Web site (see "Resources" below).
Stay informed about new treatment options. Keeping yourself up to date on the latest advances in treatment for your cancer is one way to follow up on your initial course of treatment and become an empowered patient. Visit the Mayo Clinic Web site (see "Resources" below) to learn about new treatments as they become available.
Learn about the side effects of various treatments before you begin them. For example, chemotherapy may affect your lifestyle by causing hair loss, fatigue or loss of appetite. Decide how you will manage these side effects once treatment starts.