Once a diagnosis of cancer has been made, you will probably talk with your primary care physician along with several cancer specialists, such as a surgeon, a medical oncologist and a radiation oncologist. You will want to ask these doctors about all your treatment options.
The main treatment for cancer that has spread to bone is medicine that travels throughout your body (systemic therapy) such as chemotherapy or possibly a targeted therapy. These types of medicines are given by a medical oncologist. In many cases, your cancer will need to be treated by using more than one type of treatment. For example, if you have been diagnosed with a bone metastasis, you may be prescribed a medicine called a bisphosphonate. This type of drug slows the bone loss caused by cancer to reduce the risk of bone fracture and pain.
Additionally, you may receive radiation therapy to relieve pain associated with your bone metastases. In some cases, higher doses of radiation in very few treatments are used to treat cancer within the bone. This type of treatment is called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT).
After reviewing your medical record including imaging, as well as completing a thorough patient history and physical examination, your radiation oncologist will discuss with you the potential benefits and risks of radiation therapy and answer your questions. For a list of questions that you may want to ask, please see the section Questions to Ask Your Doctor.