Announcer: Live from the First State this is WHYY Delaware Tonight.
Rob: In news tonight the journey for people battling metastatic bone cancer and what steps can be taken to fight back. Teddy Efaw joins us live with the detail to tonight’s Health & Medical Checkup 10.
Ted Efaw: Thank you Rob. It seems like we have heard a lot of grim news about the treatment of the disease since Presidential candidate John Edward’s wife Elizabeth announced her cancer had returned, and some doctors say it’s not as hopeless as she might think. Dr. Richard Schmidt is with Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Dr. Schmidt, welcome to Delaware Tonight.
Dr. Richard Schmidt: Thank you very much.
Ted Efaw: I guess we ought to start off with saying you are affiliated with another regional hospital, is that all right?
Dr. Richard Schmidt: Yes, I am also Chief of Orthopedics at the Lankenau Hospital.
Ted Efaw: What is metastatic bone cancer?
Dr. Richard Schmidt: Metastatic cancer to bone is basically when a primary cancer such as lung or Mrs. Edward’s situation breast, actually spread through the bloodstream where the lymphatics, it actually deposits itself in the bones of the body, particularly the femur or spine would be classic examples.
Ted Efaw: And how prevalent is it?
Dr. Richard Schmidt: It’s prevalent. If you are looking cancer today, cancer has become the primary health concern in our nation. The incidence has past cardiac disease for instance. One in six men today get prostate cancer and one in eight women get breast cancer. So in a country of 280 million people it’s a prevalent condition.
Many of those patients who go five to seven years out from the diagnosis will develop cancer spreading to their bones.
Ted Efaw: Well, what signs, are there any signs to look for?
Dr. Richard Schmidt: Yes, typically the most common sign is pain and it’s something you don’t want to ignore. So if you have a history of cancer; history of breast cancer; lung cancer; prostate cancer; renal cancer, which are the most common forms of cancer, if you get pain in your bones and it has what’s called a nocturnal component, meaning occurring at night, not at rest, you should be at least concerned about that and have an x-ray taken.
Ted Efaw: Now this one, we heard about Mrs. Edwards, we all thought it was a death sentence but the good news is it isn’t, right?
Dr. Richard Schmidt: It is not a death sentence, and what I tell people and my patients is please put in perspective we all develop healthcare conditions and for example, diabetes – no one says to someone with diabetes that’s a death sentence and can’t be cured. It can be treated, and I have many patients with breast cancer to bone, that I have been literally treating for the last 20 years and they still do very well. So it’s an unfortunate scenario that got portrayed as a death sentence but it really should not be. It’s can be treatable with surgery and medications.
Ted Efaw: Real quickly, what advice would you give to someone though, or you mentioned what they should do but to somebody who hasn’t they are gong to be devastated, what would you say?
Dr. Richard Schmidt: Well, I would say see your doctor. If you developed disease to your bone see an orthopedic oncologist, an orthopedic surgeon who specifically specializes in treating cancers of the bone and don’t be pushed away and left with the negative image that they are going to not do well. So seek medical care.
Ted Efaw: Thank you Dr. Schmidt.
Dr. Richard Schmidt: Thank you.
Ted Efaw: In other Medical News we have…