SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Secondary bone cancer in a 64 year old male, coloured X-ray. This metastasis (secondary cancer) of the bone has arisen from a primary cancer of the prostate gland. Cancer cells travel from the prostate to the spine through a system of veins known as Batson's plexus. The cells cause compression of the spinal cord, as shown here at the first lumbar vertebra (white). This compression causes pain and weakness of the legs and in extreme cases can lead to paralysis. The cancer cells also cause the bones around them to become thicker and more dense. Treatment is radiotherapy or hormone therapy.
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