Breast Cancer is bad enough without further worries. Unfortunately, the newest and best anti-cancer treatments can result in a rapid advance of Osteoporosis and Fragility Fractures. Fortunately, acting to prevent and treat osteoporosis can slow or prevent the spread of the cancer!
We talked about these issues when I spoke to a Breast Cancer Support Group on Monday. These are women fighting a deadly foe with strength and determination, as my mother did years ago.
Anti-estrogen drugs like the Aromatase inhibitors block all estrogen effects. That causes “Osteoclasts Gone Wild”. The rapid loss of bone leads to greatly increased Risk of Fracture. This is a preventable side effect of cancer treatment.
Testing for 25-hydroxy Vitamin D and correcting any Vitamin D Deficiency can be lifesaving! One recent study showed that women with enough vitamin D were 2 times more likely to survive when under treatment for Breast Cancer, than Vitamin D Deficient women. Some oncologists recommend a 25-hydroxy D level of 70 ng/ml as ideal when fighting cancer. We recommend 40 – 80 ng/ml for bone health alone.
The bonus comes when you can Prevent Breast Cancer Metastases in bone. Several recent studies of women treated with the Zometa form of Reclast or the Xgeva form of Prolia to prevent worsening osteoporosis, showed that fewer women developed metastases in the first 5 years.
If you have Breast Cancer (or Prostate or others), screen and begin treatment to prevent osteoporosis, and maybe prevent the spread of your cancer as well.
Jay Ginther, MD