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Case study: preventing hip fractures in cancer patients
Last year more than 60,000 people across the UK suffered a hip fracture.
A hip fracture is a crack or break in the thigh bones which occurs at the hip joint. Hip fractures can be extremely painful and leave a person unable to move their leg.
As one of the country’s leading centres for orthopaedic services, we provide expert treatment and care for hip fracture patients.
Hips become weaker as a person becomes older. Older people can also be vulnerable to falls leading to broken hips.
“A lot of hip fractures happen later in life so there are also specialist older people’s doctors in the team who assess and plan suitable care for these patients,” says Zameer Shah, consultant orthopaedic surgeon.
We also provide a hip care service for cancer patients. Cancer in bones increases the risk of a hip fracture occurring, so a service has been set up at the Trust which cancer patients can be referred to for specialist treatment.
After an assessment, the patient will potentially be offered surgery aimed at avoiding a hip fracture. This pre-emptive approach can relieve patients of the worry that their hips will suddenly break and lead to a dangerous fall. It means that cancer patients have a better chance of remaining mobile while undergoing their treatment.
Tony Hunter is a kidney cancer patient at our hospital who has benefited from the service.
Tony, who is 63 and lives in Rochester, Kent, had a tumour behind his pelvis which made it very painful for him to use one of his legs. A referral to the specialist hip care service led to the tumour being removed and his hip being replaced.
Tony is grateful to be walking again and feels his quality of life has improved substantially.
“My new hip is working well. Having had the operation I’m now able to get from A to B by myself and that gives me great peace of mind.”