Warning – cancer treatment comes with risk of osteoporosis

Image result for image osteoporosisCancer Research UK  say any cancer treatment in women that lowers oestrogen levels can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Treatments include:

  • chemotherapy that caused an early menopause
  • hormone therapy with a drug called an LHRH analogue (eg Zoladex)
  • hormone therapy with a drug called an aromatase inhibitor (anastrozole, arimidex, aromasin, exemestane , letrozole)
  • radiotherapy to your ovaries to stop them working
  • surgery to remove your ovaries when you were premenopausal

Osteoporosis is a condition that you need to check for. Ignoring the warning signs – such as a wrist fracture, or a broken bone from a minor bump or a fall from standing height – puts you at risk of further painful fractures that can dramatically reduce your independence. Acting now can make a huge difference to your future lifestyle and happiness.


The National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) have a new campaign aimed at alerting those at risk: STOP AT ONE.National Osteoporosis Society

The campaign has online test making it easy for you to assess your risk of osteoporosis by answering  simple questions.  Click on the link below, answer the questions and they will send you a personalised report and useful recommendations on where to get help and what you can do to improve your bone health.


Do you need a DEXA Scan –  and what is it?
A DEXA scan is a special type of  X-ray that measures bone mineral density (BMD).
You should be offered this if you have had any of the above treatments. 
DEXA stands for “dual energy X-ray absorptiometry”. This type of scan may also be called:

  •   a DXA scan
  • a bone density scan
  • a bone densitometry scan

DEXA scans are often used to diagnose or assess someone’s risk of osteoporosis.  You lie on a flat open bed and a machine whirrs around above you.  It’s quick and totally painless, and a DEXA scan is more effective than normal X-rays in identifying low bone mineral density.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a 10-year Fracture Risk Assessment Tool, which applies to both men and women between 40 and 90 years of age. The tool can be used to assess if a DEXA scan is appropriate and calculates your risk of fracture in the next 10 years.Demand this if your GP doesn’t offer it and you feel you are at risk.  I have to have these regularly, as I was given aromatase inhibitors before doctors fully understood the risks.  When I moved, I was shocked when my new GP subjected me to a half-hour of questioning as to what was a DEXA Scan, why did I need one, and made me answer a raft of questions before he would authorise this.  It happens, so get help from the NOS if you need to justify the procedure.
What next?
There’s no doubt that treatment is currently ‘hit and miss’.  If you are serious about avoiding falls and broken bones, you need to exercise – the right way, 
NOS can help, or if you are lucky your GP and/or Oncologist will – but don’t depend on this.  It boils down to the fact we need to take charge of our own health. 
More info:  https://aftercancers.com/osteoporosis-needs-serious-attention/