Results released from the national Bone Complications In Cancer Survey
TORONTO, May 12 /CNW/ - A national survey released today by the Canadian
Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) and Prostate Cancer Canada (PCC) revealed
a significant gap in awareness amongst Canadians with prostate and
breast cancer about complications that can occur if cancer has spread
to the bone (metastatic cancer).1 The CBCN and PCC Bone Complications In Cancer National Survey showed that only 39 per cent of people with non-metastatic breast or
prostate cancer were familiar with the complications of cancer
spreading to the bone.
"We believe that bone health is an important area to highlight," says
Lorna Marshall, member, CBCN Board of Directors and breast cancer
survivor. "A significant number of women with breast cancer are at risk
of cancer spreading to the bones."
While five per cent of people with breast or prostate cancer may have
the cancer spread to their bones, in advanced breast and prostate
cancer up to 65 to 75 per cent of patients may experience bone
metastases.2 When this happens, serious complications, collectively known as
skeletal-related events (SREs), can occur, including broken bones and
spinal cord compression, which may lead to severe pain, disability,
hospitalization, and even death.
"Bone health is an issue even at the early stages of prostate cancer,"
says Steve Jones, President & CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada. "We
always encourage men with prostate cancer to have continuous, open
dialogue with their doctors throughout their journey."
According to the survey, people with breast or prostate cancer agree
that a conversation with their doctor about their bone health should
take place earlier in the cancer journey. Half of people with breast
cancer and four-in-ten people with prostate cancer would have liked to
have learned more about their bone health earlier.1 In addition, almost three quarters of people who care for those with
breast or prostate cancer (72 per cent) believed that bone health
should be discussed before cancer treatment begins.1
"The primary goal of treatment for bone metastases is to prevent the
occurrence of debilitating and costly bone complications," says Dr.
Fred Saad, urologist, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal,
Hôpital Notre-Dame. "Complications of metastases include broken bones,
spinal cord compression or the need for surgery or radiation. They can
disrupt a patient's life and cause disability, pain and
Bone pain is one of the first signs that cancer has spread to the bone.3
Diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1995, Derek Lawrence's cancer spread
to his spine in 1997. "I found out that the cancer had spread to my
bones after having a CT scan," says Derek Lawrence. "The scan revealed
that the cancer had spread to my spine. As a result, I've had two
vertebrae removed and replaced with donated bone. Two metal plates,
held together under compression by titanium nuts and bolts, keep the
donated vertebrae in place."
Like Derek, Lorna also experienced the spread of cancer to her bones.
She was diagnosed in 2005 with breast cancer and with bone metastases
in 2008. "I would encourage others like me with advanced cancer to get
a referral from their doctor for a bone scan if they have unexplained
pain. The scan will help determine whether the cancer has spread to
their bones so that steps can be taken to prevent bone complications."
More from the Survey
People with Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer patients were less likely to be concerned about the
complications of bone metastases (SREs), (53 per cent) than they were
with cancer spreading to the bone (63 per cent).
When asked at diagnosis what complications of prostate cancer they
expected to experience, most men said erectile dysfunction (75 per
cent), followed by urinary dysfunction (66 per cent) and cancer that
spreads (52 per cent).
Seven in 10 men with non-metastatic prostate cancer said they are
motivated to seek out more information on bone metastases and
skeletal-related events. Despite this, most of those (91 per cent) have
not sought out any information about bone-related complications due to
metastatic cancer or treatment of bone complications.
Many men with prostate cancer turn to internet research for more
information on bone health. Other sources of information include
patient brochures and medical journals.
People with Breast Cancer
People with breast cancer were equally concerned with bone metastases
and its complications (SREs).
When asked at diagnosis what complications of cancer they expected to
experience, women with breast cancer said that they expected cancer
that metastasizes (67 per cent), followed by fatigue (62 per cent),
then absence from work (46 per cent) as complications of their disease.
Nearly eight in 10 people with non-metastatic breast cancer said they
are motivated to seek out more information on bone metastases and
skeletal-related events. Despite this, most of those (82%) have not
sought out any information about bone-related complications due to
metastatic cancer or treatment of bone complications.
Only three in 10 people with non-metastatic breast cancer state that
they were directed to specific resources on the resulting complication
of their cancer. Patient brochures and patient support groups were the
most commonly mentioned examples.
Caregivers of People with Prostate or Breast Cancer
Among caregivers, most are concerned about their loved one experiencing
bone metastases (73 per cent), yet only 28 per cent have voiced their
concerns to their loved one's doctor.
About Bone Complications
Bone pain dominates the daily lives of people with metastatic disease
and can severely affect a patient's quality of life.4 In fact, up to two-thirds of people with bone metastases experience
debilitating bone pain.5
Once the cancer has spread, or metastasized, to the bone, complications
can occur, such as broken bones, spinal cord compression as well as the
need for radiation and/or surgery - collectively known as
skeletal-related events (SREs). In people with advanced cancer, SREs
can greatly impair mobility and is associated with increased illness
The Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) is a survivor-directed,
national network of organizations and individuals. CBCN is a national
link between all groups and individuals concerned about breast cancer,
and represents the concerns of all Canadians affected by breast cancer
and those at risk.
Prostate Cancer Canada (PCC) is the only national foundation dedicated
to the elimination of this disease through research, education, and
awareness. Prostate Cancer Canada raises funds for the development of
programs related to awareness, public education, advocacy, support of
those affected and research into the prevention, detection, treatment
and cure of prostate cancer.
1 Leger Marketing Survey, February 2011
2 Coleman RE. Skeletal complications of malignancy. Cancer. 1997;80(suppl):1588-1594.
3 Ripamonti C, Fulfaro F. Malignant bone pain: pathophysiology and
treatments. Curr Rev Pain. 2000;4:187-196.
4 Ripamonti C, Fulfaro F. Malignant bone pain: pathophysiology and
treatments. Curr Rev Pain. 2000;4:187‐196.
5 Gralow J, Tripathy, D. Managing metastatic bone pain: the role of
bisphosphonates. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2007;33:462-472.
6 Coleman RE. Skeletal complications of malignancy. Cancer. 1997;80(suppl):1588-1594.
7 Costa L, Badia X, Chow E, Lipton A, Wardley A. Impact of skeletal
complications on patients' quality of life, mobility, and functional
independence. Support Care Cancer. 2008;16:879-889.
SOURCE Canadian Breast Cancer Network
For further information:
| Ashley MacIsaac-Butler || || || || || Rebecca von Goetz |
| Government Relations & Policy Manager || || || || || Executive Vice-President |
| Canadian Breast Cancer Network || || || || || Prostate Cancer Canada |
| Tel: (613) 230-3044 ext 221 || || || || || Tel: (416) 441 2131 ext 258 |
Additional information is also available online at: http://www.newscanada.com/social-media-release-more-than-half-of-people-with-breast-or-prostate-cancer-unaware-of-bone-complication-risk