Younger women who are undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer often experience premature menopause as a side effect of their anti-cancer treatment. The resulting decreased estrogen levels put these patients at an increased risk for osteoporosis.
In a study of 102 breast cancer patients at risk for osteoporosis:
•Only 56% had discussed bone health with their doctors
•Only 50% were physically active and exercised regularly
•50% were taking calcium, but at least a third were taking calcium below the doses recommended to prevent osteoporosis
•40% had received a bone density test; but most of these were women over 40
The research suggests that more education on bone health should be given to young women undergoing breast cancer chemotherapy, especially those whose estrogen levels drop low enough to trigger premature menopause.
2006, Tham, YL et al. “The adherence to practice guidelines in the assessment of bone health in women with chemotherapy-induced menopause.” J Support Oncol.
Breast cancer blog: When do I start osteoporosis preventive medications when being treated for breast cancer? breastcancer.org website
“Breast Cancer Treatment and Bone Loss” background information from breastcancer.org website. http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/bones/treatment.jsp