The place where a cancer starts in the body is known as the primary tumour. A cancerous tumour is made up of millions of cancer cells and sometimes a few of these cells may break away. When this occurs, the bloodstream carries these cells to other parts of the body. If these cells settle in that part of the body, they can form a new tumour. If this happens it’s called a secondary cancer or a metastasis.

Secondary bone metastases may be isolated to one particular location or may be found in many bones throughout the body. Not all these metastases will cause problems. The metastases that are problematic often cause pain in the effected bone and/or weakening of the bone leading to a potential break (fracture).

Although any type of cancer can spread to the bone, the most common types are cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, thyroid and kidney.