Breast cancer survivors are at higher risk for hip fractures

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Washington, Feb 3 (ANI): A new study has found that breast cancer survivors are at a higher risk for painful hip fractures.

Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that a combination of early menopause due to breast cancer treatment and common drugs used to treat breast cancer, could be weakening the bones of breast cancer survivors once they hit middle age, leading to hip fractures.

"One year after the fracture the women still reported difficulty with climbing stairs, shopping and heavy housekeeping," said Beatrice Edwards, of women their early 50s who were breast cancer survivors.

"Their health care costs may increase and their fractures contribute to losing some independence."

She found that the bone mineral density remained normal and concluded that rapid change in bone architecture from chemotherapy, early menopause and adjuvant therapy may not be evident on bone mineral density test.

The women had early-stage breast cancer and received treatment including lumpectomy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy with cytoxan and adriamycin one to four years before the fracture occurred. They were all perimenopausal at the time of the fracture.

"Although the majority of women with breast cancer can expect to be fully cured from the disease, the prevention of cancer treatment-induced bone loss is important to consider in cancer survival," Edwards said.

"More research needs to be done before treatment guidelines are changed, but greater awareness of the adverse effects of certain breast cancer drugs is needed."

The next step for the team is to conduct a clinical trial and give bone density screenings to women before they enter breast cancer chemotherapy.

"The pain and suffering and hospital stays and higher health costs associated with these hip fractures might be prevented through early intervention," Edwards said.

Results of the study are published in the February 2011 issue of Clinical Cancer Research. (ANI)

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