Hypercalcemia is accelerated loss of calcium from the bones. Patients in whom breast cancer has spread to the bone may experience hypercalcemia.
If the calcium loss is excessive, it can result in the formation of small holes (osteolytic lesions) in the bones. Together, osteolytic lesions and hypercalcemia can cause the bones to weaken significantly, increasing a patientís risk of breaks and fractures. This can be particularly troublesome for older patients who have already experienced a loss of bone density that comes with age.
Also, the increased levels of calcium in the bloodstream caused by hypercalcemia can cause patients to feel nauseous, suffer extreme thirst, lose their appetite, or experience mental confusion.
See our Q&A on treatment of hypercalcemia and its related conditions.