Aggressive breast cancer treatment offers you the hope of living a long, healthy life after treatment. But some breast cancer treatments may speed up bone loss and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
A study confirms that Actonel (chemical name: risedronate) can prevent bone weakening after breast cancer treatment. The medication can even strengthen bones that are already weakened by age and treatment.
Actonel is a bisphosphonate. Other bisphosphonates include Fosamax (chemical name: alendronate sodium) and Boniva (chemical name: ibandronate). The medications are taken by mouth and effectively treat osteoporosis and reduce the risk of bone fractures. Other bisphosphonates, such as Zometa (zoledronic acid) and Aredia (chemical name: pamidronate disodium), are sometimes given intravenously to women being treated for advanced breast cancer.
Doctors measure your bone strength by measuring your bone mineral density. Bone mineral density is measured with a DEXA scan. Bone mineral density was used to measure bone health in this study.
Besides taking medicine, there's a lot you can do to reduce your risk of osteoporosis and improve your bone health, whether or not you've been diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Eat well. Include calcium-rich foods in your diet because they make a difference in the health of your bones.
- Make healthier lifestyle choices. Don't smoke and limit your alcohol intake. Smoking and alcohol both contribute to the development of osteoporosis.
- Exercise. Weight-bearing exercise is the best for strengthening bones.
- Watch your posture.
- Are calcium and vitamin D supplements right for you? Talk to your doctor about whether these supplements would be helpful for you.
Monitoring your bone health is important. Talk to your doctor about if, when, and how often you should be getting a bone mineral density test, as well as whether medicines to maintain or improve your bone health might be right for you.
Visit the Breastcancer.org section on Bone Health for more information.