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Advances in the Treatment of Bone Metastases

Cheryl D. Reich
CJON 2003, 7(6), 641-646 DOI: 10.1188/03.CJON.641-646

The skeleton is the third most common site for cancer to spread to after the liver and lungs. Malignancies that can cause destruction of skeletal bones include multiple myeloma and metastatic disease of the breast, prostate, and lung. Bone metastases are problematic for patients with cancer because accelerated bone breakdown occurs with many associated complications. One or more of the following problems may occur: pain, hypercalcemia, pathologic fractures, myelosuppression, and spinal cord compression with subsequent progressive immobility. Quality of life is affected negatively, and associated feelings of fear, grief, anger, despair, anxiety, and depression can occur. Management of malignancies of the bone involves a multimodal approach. Therapies include analgesia, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and the use of bisphosphonates. Nurses can be instrumental in promoting positive outcomes for patients with bone metastases.

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