Nearly every malignant neoplasm has been described as having the capability to metastasize to bone. Of the estimated 1.2 million new cases of cancer diagnosed annually, more than 50% will eventually demonstrate skeletal metastasis. Advances in systemic and radiation therapy have led to a considerable improvement in the prognosis of patients with metastatic disease. As a result, orthopaedic surgeons are being asked with increasing frequency to evaluate and treat the manifestations of skeletal metastases. The femur is commonly the site of large impending lesions and complete pathologic fractures. Although the health status of some patients may preclude operative intervention, established pathologic fractures of the femur and metastatic lesions deemed likely to progress to imminent fracture generally should be treated surgically. A rational approach to selection of the proper treatment for these problems includes consideration of the patient's overall medical condition and the type, location, size, and extent of the tumor. Treatment principles are the same regardless of location. A construct should ideally provide enough stability to allow immediate full weight bearing with enough durability to last the patient's expected lifetime. All areas of weakened bone should be addressed at the time of surgery in anticipation of disease progression. To minimize disease progression and possible implant or internal fixation failure, postoperative external-beam irradiation should be considered.

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