Skip to main content
Read about

Spine Metastases

Tooltip Icon.
Last updated June 11, 2022

Spine metastases quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your spine metastases.

What is a spine metastasis?

Metastasis means the spread of cancer cells from tumors in other parts of the body. Bone metastases occur when tumor cells migrate from the original tumor site and cause a secondary tumor in the bones. The spine is a common location for new tumors, or metastases, to form.

Some types of cancers, especially those of the breast, prostate, lung, thyroid, and kidney, are more likely to spread to the spine.


  • Back pain
  • Bowel and urinary incontinence
  • Arm or leg weakness
  • Hypercalcemia (high levels of calcium in the blood).
  • Hypercalcemia can cause nausea and vomiting, constipation, and mental confusion.
  • Metastasized tumors can cause pain and fractures in the spine.


Diagnosis is made through various types of imaging, including X-ray, bone scintigraphy (bone scan,) CT scan, PET scan, or MRI.

Treatment is varied and is designed for each individual. It may include osteoporosis medications to strengthen bones, chemotherapy to fight cancer cells, and steroids to reduce inflammation. All of these help to reduce pain, as well. Radiation therapy and surgery may also be used.

Ready to treat your spine metastases?

We show you only the best treatments for your condition and symptoms—all vetted by our medical team. And when you’re not sure what’s wrong, Buoy can guide you in the right direction.See all treatment options
Illustration of two people discussing treatment.
Share your story
Once your story receives approval from our editors, it will exist on Buoy as a helpful resource for others who may experience something similar.
The stories shared below are not written by Buoy employees. Buoy does not endorse any of the information in these stories. Whenever you have questions or concerns about a medical condition, you should always contact your doctor or a healthcare provider.
Dr. Rothschild has been a faculty member at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He currently practices as a hospitalist at Newton Wellesley Hospital. In 1978, Dr. Rothschild received his MD at the Medical College of Wisconsin and trained in internal medicine followed by a fellowship in critical care medicine. He also received an MP...
Read full bio

Was this article helpful?

Tooltip Icon.