fractured vertebrae due to mets

I was diagnosed with primary breast cancer in March 2009. In September last year I started to experience quite severe pain in my back, especially at night when I turned over in bed. Following a fall a ouple of months later I was diagnosed with a fractured T12 which the doctors are sure is due to mets.

After a coupe weeks of being in severe pain, I have now been pain free for a 6-8 weeks and have so symptoms of cord compression. The doctors are worried and want to stabilise my vertebrae surgically. They think I am at risk of cord compression. This is a major op and I am just scared in case it goes wrong or I have complications etc especially as I am now pain free and feel well otherwise.

My back is now better thasn it was before my fall and I wouldn’t know that I had a problem. Does anyone else have a similar expereience or any advice as I am worried about the op but equally worried in case I fall again and put myself at risk.


Hi Lucerne

I’m sorry to read that you are having a pretty tough time at the moment. I’m sure the users of this site will be along to support you soon.

In the meantime maybe you would like to talk to a member of our helpline staff who are there to offer emotional support as well as practical information. The free phone number is 0808 800 600 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 9.00 to 2.00.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

Hi Lucerne
Sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis and problems with your spine. I too have bone mets, spine and hip, but, touching wood here, haven’t had the same problems with compression. If you look at the Bone Mets, please join in thread there are many of us on there and a few have had the operation you are talking about. So I’m also bumping this up in the hope that someone else can be of more help.
Good luck with all your treatment
Nicky x

Hi Lucerne,

I too have bone mets in my spine and would advise you to pop on to the bone mets thread where some ladies have had what sounds like the same op and may be able to help.

Last year I did have progression in T9 vertebra where it had gone from affecting a bit of the bone to most of it and was pressing on nerve and muscle endings and then giving me pain. I had a one-off rads blast to T8,9 and 10 and it got rid of the pain straight away.

Why not see about asking for a second opinion or to see what other options there may be and why they would or wouldn’t be viable?

Good luck

PS Just bumped the bone mets thread a bit higher up the list for you

Dear Nicky and Lizcat - thanks a million for your interest. Support here is great.


Lucerne, have your medical team carried out an MRI of your spine?
My understanding is that the medics can usually tell from this if the problem is cancer related (and how serious it is). I fractured both my T12 and L1 after a fall in 2009, but the MRI showed that it was due to degeneration of the spine, rather than cancer. My back pain only stopped a few months ago, because I’m taking Bondronat (oral bisphosphonates), which slow bone turnover,and therefore healing.
If I had cancer related degeneration of the spine though, I would want to get it stabilised, even if I wasn’t in pain, because I wouldn’t want to risk a spontaneous fracture, and damage to the spinal cord. Of course it could get better on it’s own, but I just think better safe than sorry (but only you can decide what’s right for you).

Dear Lemongrove - thanks too for your helpful comments. I have had two MRIs of my spine, Dec and early feb. These have been discussed in the multi disciplinary meetings and the doctors all are pretty certain the fracture is due to metastatic disease.