My doctor told me prostate cancer spread to my bones. Is there any way for me to stop that from happening?

Expert Opinion published on June 28, 2013 in Treatment
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Daniel Petrylak, MD
Director, Genitourinary Oncology Program
Co-director, Signal Transduction Research Program
Yale University Smilow Cancer Center
New Haven, Connecticut
My doctor told me prostate cancer spread to my bones. Is there any way for me to stop that from happening?

Hi, I am Dr. Daniel Petrylak, and I am director of genitourinary oncology and co-director of Signal Transduction Program at the Smilow Cancer Center at Yale University. I would like to talk about several issues in prostate cancer. “My doctor told me prostate cancer spread to my bones. Is there any way for me to stop that from happening?” Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of death of men in the United States, and the most predominant site of metastasis from prostate cancer is the bone. Unfortunately, once the patient is initially diagnosed with prostate cancer, there is no proven method to prevent the tumor from spreading to the bone. Although early hormone therapy is used, we are not really sure whether that will prevent the development of metastatic disease and I think one of the more important issues is once you do have disease that is diagnosed in bone, how can you prevent further bone-related events from occurring? There are drugs that can prevent bone reabsorption. These include the bisphosphonates and these also include the RANK ligand inhibitors and these drugs will prevent something called a skeletal-related event. What do I mean by that? This is an event that is related to either the development of bone pain, the development of a fracture, or the need of your doctor to administer either chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery to correct any of these particular bone abnormalities. And these drugs have been shown to delay the time to the development of these skeletal-related events. That really is about the best we can do as far as preventing further bone issues in a patient with metastatic disease.

Last modified: June 28, 2013
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