Strong, healthy bones are essential to your general
well-being. Protecting your bone health becomes even more important when undergoing
treatment for cancer, because some cancer treatments increase the risk factors
for osteoporosis. A condition that causes your bones to become weak, brittle and more prone to
fractures, osteoporosis can affect both men and women.
Bone strength can
decrease with some forms of radiation, steroid treatments and hormone therapy used
to suppress testosterone in prostate cancer patients or lower estrogen levels
in breast cancer patients. Certain chemotherapy regimens can also contribute
to loss of bone density.
To lessen your
risk for osteoporosis, it’s important to include bone health maintenance in your
cancer care plan right from the start. Talk with your physician about a having
a bone density scan before, during or after treatment to determine if bone loss is occurring.
There are other steps you can take to help promote strong, healthy bones during cancer treatment. These include eating
a nutritionally balanced diet and getting regular, weight-bearing exercise like
walking and stair climbing. Maintaining
a healthy weight is also important, since being underweight makes you more
prone to bone loss and fractures.
Be sure to get
enough calcium, the mineral that maintains bone health and strength. Calcium-rich foods include yogurt, cheese, broccoli and kale. Or, choose from calcium-fortified
foods such as orange juice, milk and pasta. You may also need to take calcium
supplements, along with vitamin D, which helps your body to absorb and retain
calcium. Your health care professionals can help you choose the supplements
that are best for you. They may also prescribe medications called bisphosphonates,
which slow the rate of bone loss. Another important way to protect your bones
during cancer treatment is make your environment free of dangers that could cause a fall. Enlist the help of friends or family to clear electrical cords or any clutter
that could trip you up.
Learn more about bone health and treatment for osteoporosis at Allegiance