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Prognosis of secondary bone cancer

What is the outlook for secondary bone cancer? And what is the effect on the person's blood?

We can give you some general information about secondary bone cancer but we can't give you specific information about any individual person's outlook. Prognosis (the outlook from an illness) can only be given to you by your own doctor who has all your test, scan and biopsy results.

Secondary bone cancer means cancer that has spread into a bone from somewhere else in the body. Cancer commonly spreads to the bones from a primary cancer in the

  • Lung
  • Breast
  • Prostate
  • Kidney

We have information about lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and kidney cancer. Each of these sections has information about cancer that has spread to the bone. Other cancers can also spread to the bones. The prognosis of the secondary bone cancer will depend on where the cancer has spread from. But usually once a cancer has spread from where it started to another part of the body, it is not possible to cure it completely. This is a generalisation, as some types of cancer can be cured after they have spread (for example, testicular cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma and some types of primary bone cancer).

You ask how the cancer may affect the blood. The main effect on the blood of any cancer in the bone is raised calcium levels. If your blood calcium is too high, it can cause

  • Feeling and being sick
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion

It is important to tell the doctor if you or someone you know develops any of these symptoms, particularly if you know they have secondary bone cancer. It is possible to treat high blood calcium levels and the sooner you do this, the better. If they don't get treatment, the confusion and sleepiness will get worse until the person eventually becomes unconscious.

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Updated: 19 September 2013