Addressing Bone Loss in the Cancer Survivor
February 11, 2009
Osteoporosis, the most common late effect of cancer treatment in the US, occurs with greater frequency among cancer survivors than the general population. Survivors of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and childhood leukemia are at particularly high risk for changes in bone mineral density (BMD) / osteoporosis that can lead to fractures. In breast and prostate cancer patients, bone effects are often the result of endocrine therapy–induced alterations in bone microarchitecture. They also can be caused by other types of cancer therapy, vitamin D deficiency, and other physiological changes that may or may not be related to cancer or its treatment. In childhood leukemia patients, bone effects can be caused by a variety of factors, including corticosteroid therapy, radiation therapy to the brain, and the disease itself.