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New Options Offer Relief from Cancer-Related Bone Pain

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http://www.forbes.com/lifestyle/health/ ... 24789.html


New Options Offer Relief from Cancer-Related Bone Pain

-- Robert Preidt

FRIDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Three techniques that either heat or freeze bone tumors reduced by up to 89 percent the severe pain felt by people for whom other pain relief options had failed, researchers reported.

These nonsurgical methods -- osteoplasty, radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation -- freeze or heat the tumor. This kills the tumor as well as nerve endings in the surrounding area that cause the pain.

An estimated 100,000 Americans suffer from cancer-related bone pain each year. In many cases, narcotics and other analgesics are ineffective in bringing them relief.

"Pain affects greater than 60 percent of patients with advanced cancer, and for many the pain is due to bone metastases, often destroying the quality of their remaining life," interventional radiologist Dr. Matthew Callstrom of the Mayo Clinic said in a prepared statement. "This research shows these new interventional techniques are effective to help these patients without surgery, and offer a short recovery time."

"The treatments work within weeks, are well-tolerated and can be repeated if needed," he said

Currently, radiation treatment is offered to people with bone tumors who don't respond to pain drugs. Although radiation does reduce pain for about 70 percent of them, discomfort often returns or increases over time. Additional radiation therapy often isn't possible because it damages healthy tissue.

These new therapies may offer these people a new, effective option, Callstrom said.

"As a physician, it is particularly rewarding to treat these patients because we make such a difference in their lives," he said. "Many of these patients were disabled from their pain, unable to perform everyday activities without pain. These new interventional treatments offer cancer patients a chance to feel more normal as well, without the constant reminder of their illness."

The findings were presented Friday at the annual scientific meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology, in New Orleans.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about bone tumors.

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