Bone metastases in Breast Cancer

More often than in other carcinomas, except for myeloma. Bone metastases in breast cancer are detected in 80% of patients with advanced forms of oncology. Why does this happen, and what are the symptoms of a complicated course of the disease.

Bone metastases in breast cancer

The spread of cancer cells from the primary focus can begin at any stage of oncology. One of the most frequent localizations is bone tissue. Bone metastases in breast cancer occur in a significant percentage of cases (70-80%). The main places of discovery:

  • Thoracic spine;
  • Lumbar vertebrae;
  • Ribs;
  • Pelvic bones.

In 20% of patients, bone problems become the first manifestation of the disease: having consulted a doctor with lumbar pain syndrome or for an examination for osteoporosis, it turns out that unpleasant symptoms are secondary, and the cause of all problems is in the mammary gland.

Causes of bone metastasis

The tumor survives where conditions are optimal. Bone metastases in stage 4 breast cancer are common. And there are several reasons for this:

  1. The presence of the venous-vertebral plexus, which receives blood from the mammary gland. The unpleasant features of this vascular node include:
  • Lack of valve apparatus;
  • Low intravenous pressure;
  • Lack of a membrane filter between the vessels and the bone.

Having entered this plexus through the blood, micrometastases safely and without loss enter the bone tissue of the spine.

  1. Bone tissue is constantly regenerating. The processes of resorption (resorption) and bone formation (restoration) of intraosseous structures take place in a continuous mode. This high activity is fueled by good blood flow and a pronounced systemic effect of biologically active substances (hormones, enzymes, proteins, trace elements). This is exactly what attracts cancer cells: here they will receive everything they need to survive.
  2. Features of cancer cells from the primary focus in the glandular tissue of the breast. Micrometastases of breast carcinoma quickly take root in a new place due to the ability to stimulate the destruction of bone tissue, and biologically active substances that appear in response to resorption, necessary for regeneration, support the proliferation of cancer cells.

Typical manifestations

The quality of life is sharply deteriorating. Bone metastases in breast cancer are manifested by the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain caused by mechanical factors or neurological problems;
  • Frequent and unexplained fractures (as they say, “out of the blue stumbled, and – a fracture”);
  • Syndrome of spinal cord compression, requiring urgent and emergency medical care for paralysis and paresis;

Hypercalcemia (ingestion of large amounts of calcium into the blood against the background of constantly ongoing resorption processes, provoking a variety of disorders in many organs and body systems).

Treatment in each case is selected individually. In addition to anticancer therapy, the doctor needs to alleviate pain syndrome as much as possible and return the patient to a relatively comfortable quality of life.

The most common variant of bone metastasis occurs when myeloma and (almost 100%). Bone metastases in breast cancer are slightly less common (up to 80%). The possibilities of therapy are limited, it is impossible to remove bone metastases, but the correct approach to treatment and the use of modern therapeutic techniques helps to provide adequate pain relief, correction of neurological problems, and prolongation of life for years.

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After an in-depth review of the strongest available science on the benefits and harms of screening mammography, as well as input from the public and health care professionals during the public comment period, the Task Force issued its final recommendations on breast cancer screening on January 12, 2016. You can learn more about how the Task Force’s final recommendations converge with other evidence-based guidelines in an editorial published in Annals of Internal Medicine.


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