What Factors Affect Metastatic Bone Cancer Prognosis?

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  • Written By: Cindy Quarters
  • Edited By: S. Pike
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2019
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Bone cancer is cancer that occurs in any of the bones of the body. Primary bone cancer is cancer that has originated in the bones. Secondary bone cancer is cancer that originated elsewhere in the body and has spread, or metastasized, to the bones. This kind of cancer is referred to as metastatic bone cancer. Many factors, such as the patient’s age and general health, the location and severity of the original cancer and the extent of the metastasis can affect metastatic bone cancer prognosis.

Certain cancers are more likely to metastasize to the bones than others are. Lung cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer all have a very high likelihood of spreading to the bones. The metastatic bone cancer is then labeled as being a secondary form of the original cancer, because cancer that has metastasized has the same types of cells and tumors as the original cancer. This is an important consideration in the treatment of the cancer and in the metastatic bone cancer prognosis.


The metastatic bone cancer prognosis is greatly affected not only by the original type of cancer, but also by how severe it is and where in the bones it has lodged. A person whose original cancer has grown very large and is causing significant problems has a much poorer prognosis than one who has small, slow-growing tumors that are not interfering with the functions of any organs. In all cases, the prognosis for a full recovery is significantly less than for someone with cancer that has not metastasized. The very fact that a person has this type of cancer means that it has spread and the metastatic bone cancer prognosis is not as good as it is for someone whose cancer has not gone beyond the original site.

People who are in good health otherwise have a better metastatic bone cancer prognosis than those who have other problems such as heart disease or diabetes. Curing cancer generally requires extensive chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, and people with serious health conditions tend to have a harder time getting through these treatments. Younger patients also tend to fare better than older patients, though age alone is no guarantee of a positive outcome.

The location and size of any lesions also greatly affects the metastatic bone cancer prognosis. If it is localized and can be dealt with surgically, the person has a more favorable prognosis than does someone who has tumors in many places on the bones. Cancer that has spread to several locations is difficult to cure and has a very poor prognosis. Metastatic bone cancer, by its very nature, has already spread from the original site and may eventually prove to be in other parts of the body as well, further decreasing the chances for a positive outcome. The earlier cancer is discovered, the better the chances for a good prognosis and an eventual cure.



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