Cancer, bone health and osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes your bones to weaken and become very fragile. The bones become less dense and are more likely to fracture – sometimes from a minor fall or bumping into furniture. There are two types of osteoporosis:

Annette Schork, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

Annette Schork, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

  • Primary osteoporosis is the result of a normal physiologic process—usually aging and/or menopause.
  • Secondary osteoporosis is due to bone loss from a medical condition or a treatment side effect.

Who is at risk for osteoporosis?

Talk with your doctor about your risk of osteoporosis. You may be at higher risk depending on your family history, diet and whether you have ever smoked. Older women (over 65) and older men (over 70) are generally at higher risk. White people also seem to have an increased risk.

Risk factors for secondary osteoporosis can be related to the type of cancer you had, your treatment, or the way your body responded to treatment. Specifically, risks may exist for survivors of certain types of cancers and treatments that could spread to the bone such as:

  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Multiple myeloma (cancer that occurs in the antibody-producing white blood cells)
  • Other solid tumor types such as lung, testicular, ovarian and endometrial (uterine wall) cancers

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