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Other treatments that may occasionally be used for secondary bone cancer include radiofrequency ablation and embolisation.
These treatments aren’t widely available and you may have to travel to another hospital to have them. Your doctor will let you know if these treatments are suitable for you.
This treatment uses heat to destroy cancer cells. It can help to relieve pain| that hasn’t responded to radiotherapy and is usually only used to treat small secondary bone tumours.
RFA is done under a general anaesthetic. A doctor places a needle into the bone tumour. This is usually done using a CT scanner to make sure the needle is in the right place. Radio waves are then passed down the needle into the tumour to heat, and so destroy, the cancer cells.
There are very few side effects with this treatment, although it’s quite common for people to have some pain or discomfort and to feel tired|. You usually need to stay in hospital overnight after this treatment.
Embolisation involves injecting a drug directly into the secondary bone cancer. The drug causes the blood vessels in the tumour to become blocked, which starves the tumour of nutrients and oxygen. This can cause the tumour to shrink and can help to relieve pain and spinal cord compression|. Embolisation is mainly used to treat secondary bone tumours in people with primary kidney (renal) cancer| and some types of thyroid cancer|. The treatment can be repeated if necessary.
Content last reviewed: 1 December 2012
Next planned review: 2014
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