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How Breast Cancer Increases Your Risk of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can happen to anyone, but research shows a link between breast cancer treatment and osteoporosis. This loss of bone mass and structure is commonly correlated with breast cancer treatment from the sudden drop in estrogen levels common among breast cancer patients. The production of estrogen has a protective effect on bone, and many breast cancer patients lose ovarian function from medications or surgery that dips their estrogen levels. This can cause those who were premenopausal before cancer treatment to go through earlier-than-typical menopause. Chemotherapy may also have a direct impact on bone mineral density. One problem making it difficult to prevent osteoporosis in breast cancer survivors is that hormone replacement therapy with estrogen is generally not advisable.

Which Cancer Treatments Can Lead to Osteoporosis?

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, these cancer treatments can reduce bone density:

  • Aromatase inhibitors
  • Androgen deprivation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries)
  • Corticosteroid use

Getting Treatment for Osteoporosis

It’s essential to treat osteoporosis properly because it leads to an increased risk of fracture. An osteoporosis diagnosis means you must protect your bones. Balance issues are also common for cancer survivors, and fall-related injuries can be devastating. In fact, as many as 250,000 American women suffer hip fractures each year, which results in healthcare costs of approximately $10 billion. If you are a breast cancer survivor, postmenopausal or otherwise, you should have a screening bone mineral analysis to determine if you have osteoporosis and to receive fracture prevention education from your orthopedic surgeon.

You can improve your strength and balance through training exercises to regain function and mobility. Posture exercises can also help aid recovery, so there is less stress on the spine. Keeping your muscles strong also helps spinal stability. Learn more about diet and exercise tips to prevent and treat osteoporosis here.

To contact us at Comprehensive Spine Institute, please call (727) 300-2537 to book your appointment.