Pain as an indicator of bone metastasis

E. Palmer, B. Henrikson, K. Mckusick, H. W. Strauss, F. Hochberg

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33 Scopus citations


Patients with breast or prostate cancer routinely referred for bone scintigraphy were evaluated for the presence of skeletal pain, as determined by a self administered questionnaire. Pain was a common finding, whether or not metastatic disease was present, and occurred in over half of patients. Although most patients with bone metastases did report bone pain, a significant fraction (21% of breast and 22% of prostate patients) were asymptomatic. A distinct minority of individual anatomic regions of metastasis were painful: pain was reported in 23 % of sites of breast metastases and 15% of metastatic prostate cancer sites. Of all sites at which pain was present, metastases were demonstrated in only about one half. These results indicate that pain is not a reliable indicator of the presence of location of metastatic bone disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-449
Number of pages5
JournalActa Radiologica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1988


  • Bone neoplasms
  • metastases
  • pain
  • radionuclide diagnosis


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