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Bone Metastases

Bone metastases happen when a cancer in another part of the body gets into the bloodstream and travels to a bone.  Nearly every type of cancer can spread to the bone, but the most common cancers that spread to bone are breast cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer, and myeloma.

Radiation therapy is a treatment for cancer that is very commonly used to treat bone metastases, especially when they are causing pain or may lead to a fracture of the involved bone. The technology we use and the number of treatments depend on how many areas of cancer there are, the location of the bone metastases, and the size of each tumor.


 If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with bone metastasis, click the link below to request a consultation with a Coastal Radiation Oncologist.

  • Typical Treatments

    The main treatment for bone metastases is some form of medicine that travels throughout the body as this can kill cancer cells in multiple bones at once.  This can be chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, or immunotherapy. These treatments are given by a medical oncologist.

    When a bone metastasis is causing a symptom or is in a critical location such as the spine or a weight-bearing bone, it is common to use radiation therapy to treat the most concerning bone tumors.

    For information about the types of technology available through Coastal Radiation Oncology 


    Click Here

  • What To Expect

    Once your doctors have determined that radiation therapy may be part of the treatment plan for your Bone Metastases, there will be a few steps to allow the radiation oncology team to begin treatment safely. 


    These include:


     - CT simulation
     - Treatment plan design (dosimetry)

     - Verification

     - Start of daily treatments

     - Weekly doctor visits with your radiation oncologist

  • Side Effects

    Short term:

    Many people do not develop significant side effects during radiation treatment.  If you are considering radiation therapy as part of your cancer treatment, it is important to know what side effects are possible so you can make a good decision about the treatment that is right for you.

    More likely

    • Skin irritation/redness

    • Fatigue

    • Bone pain (more common with SBRT)

    • Itching of skin

    • Nausea/diarrhea

    Less likely

    • Sore throat (depending on area being treated)

    • Increase skin warmth (more common with SBRT)

    • Difficulty swallowing 

    • Swelling

    • Increased urinary frequency 

    • Low blood count


    Long term:

    After the short-term side effects of radiation therapy resolve, others may become noticeable months or years later.

    More likely

    • Darkening of skin

    • Fracture (more common with SBRT)

    Less likely

    • Difficulty swallowing

    • Swelling

    • Mild electric sensations down spine

    • Increased skin firmness

  • More Information

    For more information about the diagnosis and treatment of bone metastasis, please visit the following websites:

     RT Answers

    American Cancer Society


Coastal Radiation Oncology Medical Center

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