Assessment and management of metastatic bone cancer in emergency departments
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Assessment and management of metastatic bone cancer in emergency departments

Barry McBrien Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Emergency Department, Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your knowledge of the assessment and management of metastatic bone cancer

  • To be aware of the issues that patients with cancer may experience in emergency care settings

  • To recognise the importance of ensuring you have the knowledge and skills required to care for patients with cancer in the emergency department

A cancer diagnosis in emergency departments (EDs) is often associated with advanced or metastatic cancer. Patients with bone metastases have a complex range of physical and psychological needs. Meeting the needs of patients with cancer is an important part of the role of emergency nurses, but evidence suggests that they often do not feel adequately prepared to provide effective care for this patient group.

This article uses a case study of a patient who presented to an ED with metastatic cancer in his right lower limb, to provide an overview of bone metastases, including the relevant anatomy, pain management and psychological support. The article also outlines the signs and symptoms of bone metastases and discusses patient assessment, symptom management and available treatments.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2020.e2059

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

McBrien B (2020) Assessment and management of metastatic bone cancer in emergency departments. Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2020.e2059

Published online: 24 November 2020

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