Osteoporosis/bone loss

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Cancer treatments may increase the risk for osteoporosis, or bone loss. The two most vulnerable populations for developing low bone density or osteoporosis are women who have been treated for breast cancer and men who have been treated for prostate cancer.

Radiation negatively impacts bone-building cells, increasing the potential for bone fractures. Other treatments may stimulate specific cells in the body called osteoclasts that then target and destroy bone tissue.

In breast cancer patients, chemotherapy treatments may induce early menopause and trigger rapid bone loss. Similarly, in men with prostate cancer, the surgical removal of the testicles results in a drop in testosterone levels, which also can lead to osteoporosis.

Doctors can talk to you about calcium and vitamin D supplements as well as more potent prescription medications that can stop or slow the progression of bone loss.