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CHOICES - page 14

       Prostate cancer most commonly spreads to the bones. When normal activities, such as pruning a tree or lifting a box, cause a broken bone, it is a sign that cancer has weakened the structure of the bones. Like a person with osteoporosis, the bones are brittle and cannot withstand pressure.
       While a break or multiple breaks may take place where lesions have already been noticed on bone scans, it is important to remember that cancer, in undetectable amounts, may be present and affecting other bones. You cannot assume that future breaks will occur only where there are visible lesions.

Palliative measures
       Medicine has been developed that enhances the body's ability to rebuild bone. Studies also indicate that given as often as once a month, this medicine -pamidronate -may reduce bone pain and therefore the amount of pain medication needed.
       Local radiation also destroys the targeted lesion and makes the bone less likely to break. Radiation is limited, however, and cannot be used repeatedly on the same site.
       Report any pain to your doctor and talk about treatment options.

Lifestyle considerations
       Some breaks, such as an arm or rib, may be painful and inconvenient. Others, such as a broken hip or spine, could cause drastic and premature loss of mobility.
       You may need to become more cautious in the activities you undertake in order to lessen the likelihood of breaking any bones, but most particularly the bones of the spine and hips. White-water rafting, for example, may be ruled out but fishing or sailing might be all right. Heavy work, such as chopping wood or pruning trees, may have to be delegated to someone else, whether a family member or hired help.

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This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not replace or amend professional medical advice. Unless otherwise stated and credited, the content of Phoenix5 (P5) is by and the opinion of and copyright © 2000 Robert Vaughn Young. All Rights Reserved. P5 is at <>. P5's policy regarding privacy and right to reprint are at <>.