Hormone treatment lowers your testosterone, the male hormone that triggers the growth of cancer cells, and slows or stops the spread of prostate cancer. Because testosterone plays a large part in protecting against bone loss, hormone therapy may cause bones to become less dense. And when bones weaken (osteoporosis), you’re more likely to experience a fracture, or bone break. Not only can that result in long-term pain and disability, it can also disrupt your cancer treatment. Fortunately, by knowing your risk factors and arming yourself with the right knowledge, you can take steps toward preserving your bone health today.
You may be more prone to developing bone loss if you…
- Have a family history of osteoporosis
- Aren’t getting enough calcium or vitamin D
- Smoke or drink alcohol excessively
- Are thin
- Eat too much salt
- Don’t exercise enough
You can protect your bones by…
- Getting a bone density scan. This painless exam measures the strength of your bones and is the only test that can diagnose osteoporosis before you break a bone. Ask us if a bone density scan would benefit you.
- Asking if medication is right for you. Many treatments are available that can boost your bone health. For example, bisphosphonates and denosumab are powerful drugs that can strengthen your bones and reduce your risk of fractures or spinal cord compression.
- Following a bone-friendly diet. Filling up on foods with bone-building nutrients is a good bet. Think vitamin D (fish, eggs, mushrooms), calcium (yogurt and other dairy, almonds, green leafy veggies) and magnesium (nuts, squash, dried herbs). Ask us about other bone-boosting foods.
- Exercising. Moderate exercise (running, lifting weights and jumping rope) can increase bone strength. We can help you compile an individualized workout plan.
- Avoiding sodium and alcohol. Salt (more than 2,400 milligrams a day) and large quantities of alcohol may damage your bones.
- Quitting smoking. Lighting up may lead to lower bone density.