Treatment for Osteoarthritis Doesn’t Give You Cancer!

It was announced yesterday that joint replacement treatment for osteoarthritis doesn’t give you cancer. That’s good to know! Don’t we have enough to cope with?

Treatment for osteoarthritis with a hip joint replacement may be the only option if the osteoarthritis is severe

Treatment for osteoarthritis with a hip joint replacement may be the only option if the osteoarthritis is severe.

When you get to a certain severity the only treatment for osteoarthritis is a joint replacement. You can get metal ones, ceramic ones or metal on plastic.

Now none of these will last nearly as long as your original joint (which only goes to show how clever the human body is!) but metal ones have been shown to have a much higher failure rate than other types.

MSN reported these statistics on failure rates:

“metal-on-metal implants failed much more quickly than other types of implant, with an overall five-year revision rate of 6.2%. This compared with 2.3% for ceramic-on-ceramic implants and 1.7% for metal-on-plastic types.

At seven years after surgery, some implants meant one in 10 patients needed further corrective surgery, with the risk linked to the size of the implant head.”

All in all that is not good reading for those of us considering this type of surgery which is highly invasive and takes several months for recover from. Doing it twice doesn’t bear thinking about.

Worse still was the worry that the metal ones may cause cancer.

“Tiny metal ions made up of cobalt and chromium are thought to break off from the implants and leak into the blood, with fears this leads to muscle and bone damage and neurological issues.

Today’s research, published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), is based on 40,576 patients with metal-on-metal hip implants and 248,995 who have other types, linked to hospital data.

The experts, from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter, found no evidence of an increased risk of any type of cancer in people with implants compared with the general population.

However, they said “as some cancers have a long latency period it is important that we study the longer-term outcomes and continue to investigate the effects of exposure to orthopaedic metals”.

So actually what they are saying they don’t think these implants cause cancer so just in case they will keep checking.

Seems to me they really should follow this advice

“Last month, experts writing in The Lancet medical journal called for all metal-on-metal implants to be banned due to evidence of high revision rates.”

I do wonder how much money is wasted on the research that is being done on the treatment for osteoarthritis. Perhaps it is time they stopped spending money on research that asks stupid questions like “Do we need research on whether we need research on whether we should use canes or not” (I kid you not!). Some non medically phrased advice on how to use a cane properly would be good though.

Don’t you think it would be a better idea if they more money spent actually investigating new types of treatment for osteoarthritis or whether the invasive type treatment they are giving us, such as the NSAIDs and the joint replacements, actually puts our lives at risk?

Let us know what you think about these failure rates or tell us your experience with a joint replacement or another type of treatment for osteoarthritis. It may help someone else decide what the best option for them is. Bookmark this page or Like us on Facebook to keep up to date with news about osteoarthritis.

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2 Responses to Treatment for Osteoarthritis Doesn’t Give You Cancer!

  1. I.D. Clair says:

    I am now on a list awaiting the Birmingham Hip Procedure and have been somewhat apprehensive especially with having chunks of metal (Chromium/cobalt) in my body. I’ve been advised that the small fillings created as a result of metal on metal friction only affects one in one thousand people but the fact one has pieces of metal inside their body in itself wouldn’t seem healthy. Unfortunately I have severe osteroarthritis in one of my hips and don’t have many options considering it is a degenerative disease and will continue to destroy the joint. I’ve taken supplements for the last few years, have seen doctors, chiropractors, naturopaths, dieticians, started swimming and am presently in a program to strengthen joints for pre and post operative functionality purposes which seems to be helping more than anything else I’ve done to date. I looked into acupuncture and prolotherapy but found they couldn’t do much to address osteoarthritis.I will also look into laser treatment but suspect it may only be a temporary benefit if at all applicable. So if I wish to be active in any way whether dancing, going for a walk, yard work, of just everyday movements, it appears a hip operation may be my only option. I’m a 56 year old male and if I wait much longer may not be a candidate for the Birmingham and then the only option becomes a full hip replacement which is that much more restrictive for movement as well as being a larger chunk of metal and even more invasive than the Birmingham. Plus my understanding is that the Birmingham(resurfacing) can be repeated if need be and seems to leave one with more options as far as revisions and the retention of bone if a complete hip replacement is ever needed in the future.
    Would much prefer a natural, organic fix to the problem but as there does not seem to be enough financial return to the parties able to address natural or organic solutions to this disease, it probably will never happen, unless there is a philanthropist out there that just wishes to help the human race live to it’s full potential. Best of Luck to everyone and hope you all have success in dealing with this debilitative disease.

  2. Dr. Sophie says:

    What a horrible place to find yourself so early in life. I agree by the time your osteoarthritis gets to this stage the spiral of degeneration seems to speed up and the earlier you catch it and act the better.
    It sounds to me like you are now on a better road to relieving the pain. You say you are in a programme “to strengthen joints for pre and post operative functionality purposes which seems to be helping more than anything else I’ve done to date” (i.e you are doing an exercise programme) and this will improve the ‘scaffolding’ around your hip so support it better and allow you to do more with less pain. Unfortunately it will do nothing to improve the actual degeneration. Therefore yes, I agree entirely with you that resurfacing is much better than a full joint replacement and the rehabilitation time is a lot shorter. I wish you all the very best and thank you for your comments. I am sure they will be helpful for other when they are making decisions about their own treatment.

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