Losing bone tissue is part of our natural aging process. However, certain cancer treatments, particularly hormonal therapies and those leading to early menopause in women, can reduce the levels of hormones in the body and cause increased bone loss, or osteoporosis. Bones may consequently become more brittle and be prone to fractures.
Causes of Bone Loss
Cancer treatment-related causes of bone loss include:
Other risk factors include:
What you need to look out for
There are usually no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. The first indication of bone loss in most people is a fracture. Some people may experience:
How it can be prevented or treated
Depending on your condition and treatment, your doctor may advise you on lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation or regular physical activity (refer to section on “What you can do” below). A bone mineral density test (BMD) may be ordered to check and monitor the amount of bone tissue you have. He or she may also prescribe one or more of the following:
If you experience any bone or
joint pain, seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor will conduct investigations to determine and treat the cause of pain, as well as prescribe you with medications to reduce the pain.
What you can do
The following are some of the lifestyle changes that can be done to prevent and manage bone loss:
When to call your cancer care team
Please inform your doctor or nurse if you experience any of the following:
If you have any questions regarding the above, please call the Cancer Helpline at
+65 6225 5655 or approach your doctor or nurse for further details.
Click here to download the PDF version of this article.
The above contents are made available as part of TEMASEK FOUNDATION-ACCESS (Accessible Cancer Care to Enable Support for Survivors) PROGRAMME, a holistic care programme to support cancer patients during their care and recovery journey.
The contents have been approved by the Cancer Education Information Service, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), for people with cancer and their families and caregivers. However, this information serves only as a guide and should not be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis, treatment or advice. For specific medical conditions, please seek expert medical advice from your healthcare team.
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