There are 2 main types of bone cancer: primary and secondary. Secondary bone cancer is a danger to those who have other forms of cancer because it means that the original cancer has spread to the bones. A number of cancers, including breast, lung, and prostate, are more likely to spread to the bones. There are currently no known changes in lifestyle that can be made to prevent bone cancer. Your risk of getting bone cancer depends primarily on family history and to some extent on whether you have been exposed to heavy doses of radiation as part of treatment for another disease.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Know your risk. Most forms of primary bone cancer seem to have some genetic component, so knowing your family history is important. People with Paget's disease may also have greater risk of developing bone cancer. The main risk factor for most individuals, however, is radiation treatment for an existing cancer or other disease.
Learn all you can about the particular cancer you have. You can go to the Web sites of the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (see "Resources" below) for more information on treatment options. Discuss the risks and benefits of radiation treatment with healthcare professionals.
Talk to your doctor about what can be done to prevent your cancer from metastasizing to the bones, as this is the primary way to prevent secondary bone cancer. The options will vary depending on the type of cancer you have, as well as the location.
Contact your doctor quickly if you suspect a recurrence of a cancer that has been treated. Schedule and attend all follow-up appointments your doctor recommends. The quicker a cancer recurrence is detected, the greater the chance your doctors will be able to prevent it from metastasizing to the bones.
Complete all recommended cancer treatments as prescribed by your oncologist. Missing them or not completing them may give your cancer the opportunity to spread to the bones.
Make a difference to others by actively dedicating time to help fight cancer. Although you may not be able to prevent bone cancer, you can help in the fight against this disease by volunteering or donating money. Visit the Web site of the American Cancer Society (see "Resources" below) to get started.