When breast and prostate cancers metastasize or spread, they often spread to the patient’s bones. Bone mets can be very painful. Traditionally the only solution was opioids aka painkillers. Pain pills come with lots of problems. Ask anyone who has taken them for long periods of time.
When my cancer, multiple myeloma, relapsed in September of 1996, it spread to my sacrum and iliac crest- my hip bones. The cancer was manageable. The pain was not. The solution? Local palliative radiation. Radiation to zap the lesions in my hip bones. Radiation cured the pain but caused all sorts of long-term side effects.
A little-known fact about palliative care is that this therapy can buy you time and quality of life so that you can pursue curative cancer therapies. HIFU therapy for bone pain will not cure your cancer but it may buy you time to find curative therapies.
Eventually, I found and underwent therapies that put me into complete remission where I am today.
HIFU therapy for bone pain is still in the evaluation or trial phase as of today, 1/29/16. But there are several clinical trials testing this therapy.
I am both a cancer survivor and cancer coach. Scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.
“A high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) procedure is a technique approved by the FDA to remove prostate tissue. Though it hasn’t been approved for the treatment of prostate cancer in the U.S., it is being used in clinical trials to treat it.
Researchers are still figuring out how well it works and its side effects.
You may hear your doctor call it “minimally invasive,” which means a surgeon doesn’t have to cut you open.
Men with cancer that hasn’t spread beyond the prostate may get the surgery. Your doctor may suggest it either before you’ve tried other treatments or after radiation therapy that didn’t help. It’s not used when your cancer has spread to other parts of your body…
“Focused ultrasound is an early stage, noninvasive therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with breast cancer. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue.
How it Works
Where the beams converge, focused ultrasound produces several therapeutic effects that are being evaluated. One mechanism is precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue). The goal could be complete ablation of the cancer, or it can be done partially. Partial ablation may help awaken the immune system for a more generalized response. A second mechanism is to promote the targeted release of therapeutic treatments in the region of the tumor.
Current treatment options for breast cancer include combinations of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or targeted drug therapies.
Focused ultrasound – used alone and in combination with other therapies – is being investigated to treat breast cancer.
Potential advantages as compared to current treatments:
“High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a new, noninvasive technique with potential to ablate and inactivate tumors. Treatment of solid tumors with HIFU has been reported. In this study, the safety and effects of HIFU in the clinical therapy of malignant bone tumors were assessed…
HIFU safely and noninvasively ablated malignant bone tumors and relieved pain. HIFU ablation should be further investigated, as it appears to be successful in the treatment of primary malignant bone tumors.”
“Specialists there used high-intensity focused ultrasound to blast cells in her bones that were triggering her pain. Rogers was part of a small clinical trial testing the new therapy, and she says it made a remarkable difference…”
“Approach Considerations– Most patients with metastatic bone disease should be cared for in conjunction with a medical oncologist and the use of radiation oncology. Because the lifespan of patients with metastatic bone disease is limited, the goal of management must center on returning as much function as possible as rapidly as possible…
Osteoclastic bone resorption can be modified by bisphosphonates; these substances are presently being used in the management of metastatic breast carcinoma and multiple myeloma. [1, 20] Future research and modification of RANK ligand (RANKL) is expected to produce additional substances that can further arrest or retard bone destruction by metastatic disease.
Image-guided percutaneous cryoablation is a lasting, safe, and effective treatment for the alleviation of painful metastatic tumors involving bone. In a study of 61 adult patients with one or two painful bone metastases (Brief Pain Inventory score ≥4 in a 24-hour period) who had refused or who had had ineffective conventional treatment, pain scores decreased significantly at 1, 4, 8, and 24 weeks following percutaneous image-guided cryoablation.  Of the 61 patients treated with this procedure, only one had a major complication (osteomyelitis at the ablation site)...