New medications are improving bone health for people with cancer.

Some types of cancer, such as osteosarcoma and chondrosarcoma, start in the bone. Other cancers begin elsewhere in the body and can metastasize (spread) to the bone. The types of cancer most likely to spread to the bone are breast, prostate and lung. When this occurs, the resulting collection of cancer cells is called a bone metastasis.

Cancer that starts in or spreads to the bone can cause bone pain and increase the risk of complications, including weakening of the bone, fractures and high calcium levels in the blood (which can further damage bones).

Some cancer treatments can also affect bones. For example, certain treatments used for breast and prostate cancer may lead to osteoporosis (thinning of the bones).