Northwestern University School of Medicine researchers reveal that hip fractures do not usually occur in a woman at age 54 unless she is a survivor from breast cancer. Researchers have discovered that the mix of both early menopause due to breast cancer treatment and the usual drugs used in treatment, possibly are making the bones weak in breast cancer survivors once the attain middle age and it is leading to hip fractures.
The findings from this study have been published in the February issue of Clinical Cancer Research.
Hip fracture occurrences are not common in people under 70. Dr. Beatrice Edwards, Northwestern Medicine physician had discovered several breast cancer survivors in their early fifties were seeing her for treatment of hip fractures.
Dr. Edwards, director of Bone, Health and Osteoporosis program and associate professor of medicine and orthopedic medicine at Northwestern Hospital and a member of Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.
Researchers had studied six of the women over a one year period and evaluated the kind of breast cancer they had, treatment received and hip fractures effect on quality of life. Dr. Edwards had led the study.
Women had reported difficulty climbing stairs, shopping and heavy housekeeping, even after one year of the fracture. The health care costs could increase and their fractures could end up with them losing some independence.
Surprisingly, Dr. Edwards had found that the majority of the women did not have osteoporosis but did have below normal bone density (osteopenia). This had advocated that the fast change in bone structure from chemotherapy, early menopause and additional therapy may not be displayed on bone mineral density tests.
All the women had early stage breast cancer and received treatments that had included chemotherapy, radiation and lumpectomy along with cytoxan and adriamycin, one to four years prior to the fracture.
All women had pre-menopause at the time of the fracture.
Out of the six women, four of them had breast cancer that grew in reaction to estrogen and received aromatase inhibitors (Als) a part of the cancer treatment to stop their bodies from manufacturing estrogen. Recent studies have linked these inhibitors to bone loss in women.
Researchers had also reviewed reports from the FDA's adverse event reporting system along with other databases and discovered that Als was the most usual drug class linked with hip fractures.
Even though a majority of the women can be cured from the disease, preventing cancer treatment induced bone loss is vital to consider in cancer survival. Dr. Edwards states further research is required before treatment guidelines can be changed. However, more awareness of the negative effects of certain breast cancer medications is required.
Dr. Edwards states their next step is to conduct a clinical trail and administer bone mineral density screenings to women prior to breast cancer chemotherapy treatment. Those patients at high risk would be flagged and given preventive bone loss therapy and watched for early hip fractures.
There are natural treatments to aide in osteopenia;
Regular chiropractic care can help to providing pain relief. Treatments given aide in increasing the bone density along with aiding in maintaining mobility and functioning. This aides in protection against not only falls but fractures as well. Make sure to notify your practitioner if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis. Treatments are geared to the individual. Chiropractors are trained in the area of osteopenia/osteoporosis.
If you do not have X-rays they will be ordered. Most practitioners do them right in the office. Bone scans and bone mineral density tests will be ordered if you have not had them.
Other treatments given can include herbal, nutritional, pain relieving therapies and exercises.
Acupuncture treatments can aide in heightening bone density. There are specific points in which are used such as Bladder 54 and 60 on both sides of the body. Stimulation of these points increases calcitonin levels within one hour of treatment.