Bone Cancer

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What specialists treat bone cancer?

Bone cancer is typically managed by surgical oncologists or orthopedic oncologists (for surgical removal of the tumor) and medical oncologists (for administration or chemotherapy). Radiation oncologists are involved in the treatment team if radiation therapy is planned. Palliative care physicians may be involved to manage pain and symptoms.

Are there any treatments or medications that relieve bone cancer pain?

Analgesics (pain-relieving medications) treat the pain of bone cancer. These may be nonprescription or prescription medications. Mild-to-moderate pain is treated with medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Naprelan, Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox). However, people taking anticancer chemotherapy drugs sometimes must avoid NSAIDs because of increased risk of bleeding.

Prescription medications are used for moderate-to-severe cancer pain. Opioids -- stronger narcotic pain medications -- like codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl may be required to control severe pain. Sometimes a combination of medications is used to treat cancer pain. Opioid medications can be associated with side effects like drowsiness, constipation, and nausea.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/12/2015

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