Metastatic disease of the musculoskeletal system is the result of spread of cancer cells from another organ to the bone. While it may be occur in any type of carcinoma, bone is among the most common sites for metastasis from carcinoma of the breast, prostate, lung, thyroid, and kidney. When the cells spread, they create tumors on the bones. These cells can be asymptomatic in the body until they spread to the bones, which can make them difficult to detect. In some of carcinomas, up to 35% to 73% will metastatic diseases of the musculoskeletal system.
Metastases are thought to primarily spread through the blood, though certain characteristics of the tumor cells make skeletal lesions more or less likely. Tumors in the bone may cause significant pain and can increase the risk of fracture, either of which may require treatment. Significant advances in surgical techniques and medical management have greatly improved the quality of life related to metastatic bone disease.
Anatomy of the Musculoskeletal System
The musculoskeletal system is an important part of keeping the shape and strength of the human body. It consists of the following:
The skeletal system is complex, and each bone serves as a depository for many cells, nutrients, and minerals. A rich blood supply and a supportive environment for cells from many different tumors favors the development of metastatic disease of the musculoskeletal system in several carcinoma types.
Types of Metastatic Diseases of the Musculoskeletal System
Metastatic diseases of the musculoskeletal system can attack any bone. However, studies have shown that there are several bones that are at significantly more risk:
Causes of Metastatic Disease of the Musculoskeletal System
The primary cause of metastatic disease of the musculoskeletal system is to have cancer in another form. However, the manner in which it spreads can be caused in two different ways:
Symptoms of Metastatic Disease of the Musculoskeletal System
Depending on the form of cancer cells and how affected the organs where they are traveling from are, symptoms of metastatic disease of the musculoskeletal system can vary.
The following are some of the most common symptoms:
Fortunately, the symptoms of metastatic disease of the musculoskeletal system often appear very early on, which makes it easier to catch before it’s too late. If you may be at risk, it is important to contact your doctor in case any of these symptoms appear or continue.
The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's musculoskeletal oncology services in New York treats metastatic disease of the musculoskeletal system as well as a broad range of conditions that affect the bones within the body.