Journalist Susana Naspolini died this Tuesday (25), at the age of 49. She was hospitalized at Albert Einstein Hospital (SP) for a week due to complications from already metastatic hip bone cancer, which she had been treating since March.
Naspolini was first diagnosed with cancer in 1991, aged 18, when she discovered a Hodgkin’s lymphoma (a rare type that affects the lymphatic system). In 2010, at the age of 37, she discovered that she had breast cancer and, subsequently, thyroid cancer. Six years later, she had another breast tumor. In March of this year he announced the new treatment and in July he discovered that the disease had spread to the bone marrow.
Bone cancers have abnormal production of tumor cells in the tissues. The disease can still be metastatic, in the case of Naspolini, when cells carrying mutations come from other regions of the body. Breast cancer is the type of disease that causes the most bone metastases.
Bone cancer usually takes time to show up. Therefore, screening is essential for early diagnosis, in addition to paying attention to all the signs. According SBCO (Brazilian Society of Surgical Oncology), the most common symptoms are:
- Golden : is the most common sign. It is not constant at first, and the person may be uncomfortable at night and/or make certain movements;
- Swelling: usually affects the area where the person feels pain. It is also common to notice nodules and a buildup of mass in the area;
- Pathological fractures: the cancer causes the affected bones to weaken, making it easier to break bones;
- numbness and tingling appear if the tumor presses on the nerves. This is the case, for example, of bone cancers of the spine;
- Fatigue and causeless weight loss.
What is metastasis?
In metastatic cancers, the disease spreads to other organs in the body, accumulating mutations that the cells cannot control, eliminate or kill.
Based on imaging and pathological tests, cancers have classifications ranging from stage I to IV – the most advanced stage, in which there are metastases.
“Tumor cells provide advantages in terms of growth and invasion, becoming more aggressive. And the aggressiveness eventually leads to greater invasion of tissues and organs, which results in the appearance of metastases”, explains Leandro Machado Colli, professor at FMRP-USP. (School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo).
This invasion arrives in the vessels and causes the cells to circulate elsewhere, that is to say that the disease is no longer just localized. At this stage, because it is more aggressive, the cancer requires systemic treatments (such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy, which act throughout the body, unlike localized interventions).
*With information from SBCO and a report published on 08/08/22.