Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hip Fractures and Breast Cancer Linked

A U.S. physician reports seeing hip fractures -- rare in people age 70 and under -- in breast cancer survivors in their 50s.

Lead author Dr. Beatrice Edwards of Chicago's Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine links the increase in premature fractures to some breast cancer treatment drugs. Edwards says the study involved six breast cancer survivors with hip fractures and she was surprised most of the study patients did not have osteoporosis, but lowered bone mineral density called osteopenia.

Rapid bone changes due to early menopause and drug therapies may not be visible in a bone mineral density test, Edwards cautions.

Two-thirds of the study participants received aromatase inhibitors -- a drug class also associated with hip fractures in U.S. Food and Drug Administration adverse event reports, Edwards says.

"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," Edwards says in a statement.

Edwards recommends bone density screening before women enter chemotherapy. Preventive bone loss therapy and monitoring for premature hip fractures might help lessen hip fractures and the pain, suffering and other costs these fractures cause.


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