May 31st 2003
With recent advances in the management of cancer, the clinicalcourse of patients with metastatic bone disease is more likely to beprolonged and accompanied by morbidity, including severe pain, hypercalcemia,pathologic fracture, and spinal cord and/or nerve root compression.The early identification of patients at higher risk for developingbone metastases enables practitioners to be proactive in their diagnosisand treatment. A multidisciplinary approach that integrates the diagnosisand treatment of the cancer, symptom management, and rehabilitationensures optimal care. Bisphosphonates can reduce the number ofskeletal-related complications, delay the onset of progressive disease inbone, and relieve metastatic bone pain caused by a variety of solidtumors with a resulting enhanced quality of life. The complexity of theclinical problem and the need to involve an array of health-careproviders present a logistical and clinical challenge. A strong argumentis made for a thematically integrated bone metastases program as partof the primary care of patients with cancer.