Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that I am a fan of Living Beyond Breast Cancer (www,lbbc.org) and often refer to their resources. A recent teleconference with Dr. Generosa Grana from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey focused on maintaining bone health for women with early breast cancer and on treatment of bone mets in women with Stage IV disease. Here is a quote:
Why are we interested in [bone health] in women with early stage breast cancer?
Several things happen to women when they get diagnosed with breast cancer. Many of the treatments that we give to premenopausal women render them [prematurely] postmenopausal; chemotherapy often makes women go into early menopause. And you lose estrogen when you go through menopause. That lack of estrogen actually accelerates the bone loss that we normally see in women.
In the last five to ten years, a new group of drugs, the aromatase inhibitors, have been used in postmenopausal women. As you go through menopause you lose bone, and the aromatase inhibitors cause increased bone loss - not just bone pain and arthritic pain, which we'll talk about - but bone loss. As we look at bone loss [that's caused by chemotherapy-induced menopause, and] at bone loss that's caused by the aromatase inhibitors, the importance of thinking about that as it relates to therapy becomes clear.
This is quite a long transcript that is well worth reading. She covers the reasons for bone loss, the possible treatments, new research, considerations for women with Stage IV disease, and everything else that is related in any way. Concern about healthy bones is one more example of health issues that have become important as more of us live long lives after breast cancer.
To read the whole transcript (which you should do), click here.