As advanced prostate cancer progresses it becomes inevitable that we will develop bone metastases. The treatments available are designed to slow disease progression, to relieve pain and to avoid the complications that result from bones being weakened by the cancer.

Weakened bones become very susceptible to fractures, with prostate cancer the most likely sight for breaks are hip fractures. In extreme cases surgery which is designed to stabilize the bones at risk can improve the chances of preventing fractures.

Another significant potential complication from bone metastases is spinal cord compression. The vertebra can become weakened by a prostate cancer bone metastasis. This weakening can cause the spinal column to collapse and compress the spinal cord.

Spinal cord compression can cause nerve damage and paralysis. Steroids and surgery to stabilize the weakened bones might be considered by you and your doctor if you find yourself in this situation. The earlier new fractures or a spinal cord compression is detected, the easier it is to treat and to relieve its symptoms.

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW