May 15th 2010
Breast cancer is the most common noncutaneous cancer among women. In 2009, an estimated 190,000 new cases occurred in the US. The 5-year survival rate for early-stage breast cancer has improved from approximately 63% in the early 1960s to almost 90% today, mainly as a result of early detection and treatment. The improvement in survival from breast cancer treatments, however, which include chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, and/or ovarian ablation, does not come without the cost of potentially significant effects on bone mineral density (BMD).[3-5] The risk of having low bone mass increases significantly with age, as does the risk of developing breast cancer; consequently, the two diagnoses often overlap in the same individual. Additionally, women with breast cancer may be at increased risk for osteoporosis due to the effect on bone of certain anticancer therapies. Hence, some women with breast cancer may be at increased risk of osteoporosis.