Bone metastases

In cancer, individual cells can dislodge from the original tumour and spread to the bones (metastases).


In cancer, individual cells can dislodge from the original tumour and spread to the bones (metastases). There, they can continue to grow and impair normal bone function. Typical symptoms include sudden nerve and bone pain. This is often treated with radiation therapy.


  • Tingling nerve pain (a spinal metastasis presses on the spinal cord)
    • Can even cause paralysis
  • Sudden bone pain (when the metastasis causes the bone to break)
    • Particularly severe at night

Causes and treatment


When cancer cells dislodge from the original tumour and move through the body to another organ we speak of metastases. Some tumours tend to spread to the bones through the veins:

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • X-ray
  • CT scan (computed tomography)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Bone scintigraphy (special method to detect bone metastases)
Possible therapies
  • Radiation therapy
  • Medication to reduce bone loss
  • Painkillers
  • Operation (e.g. spinal fusion for stabilisation)

What can I do myself?

  • Go for recommended preventive examinations (e.g. mammogram)

Get a personal Preventive Care Recommendation now.

When to see a doctor?

  • Sudden nerve pain or bone pain, in particular when a tumour has been diagnosed


Bone metastases

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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