Bone metastases in stomach cancer usually occur late in the disease.
Their presence indicates stage 4 disease, when cure is unfortunately rare.
They can be found either incidentally or from problems that they can create.
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Pain is a common problem and is probably due to micro fractures which can occur.
More significant fractures including those of the hip, ribs, humerus (the bone at the top of your arm) and within the spinal bones can occur.
All these fractures have problems that can arise, for example fractures of the spinal bones can cause nerve impingement and sciatica as well as compress the spinal cord. This can cause problems with back pain, incontinence issues and potential paralysis in the legs.
Rib fractures can cause not only pain, but breathing difficulty and make you more susceptible to breathing problems.
Treatment really depends on site and the symptoms you are getting. The main treatments are NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, steroids and radiotherapy. Sometimes surgery is used to stabilise the spine if there is evidence of cord compression.
It is not only the cancer itself which can cause anemia, but bone involvement can too.
This is because of the effect on the marrow, the structure in the centre that manufactures blood cells.
Any infiltration from your tumor can prevent blood cell production and anemia can ensue.
When the bones are involved, calcium levels can rise in your blood. High calcium causes tiredness, weakness, thirst, constipation, low blood pressure (can make you dizzy) and you can pass more urine. Despite these symptoms, some people actually remain asymptomatic and it is picked up on routine blood testing.
It’s possibly also through a “paraneoplastic” phenomenon with a tumor related hormone causing this too.
If calcium levels are high, the important thing is to rehydrate you with fluids. Drugs, known as bisphosphonates, are used to keep your calcium levels down and occasionally steroids.
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