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Osteoporosis after Chemo

Fayard's picture
Fayard
Posts: 343
Joined: May 2011

I am sure we have talked about this before, but I cannot find the thread.

I was diagnosed with osteoporosis in my spine and osteopenia in the hips and neck, right after I finished chemo. I told my doctor to give me some time to recover, so I did not have to take any prescription medication. I am now having back and chest aches while sleeping. I just ha d a chest, abdomen and pelvis CT scan, and everything is fine thank God. I exercise at least 30 minutes a day, dancing and walking. I do weights, but not as much as I should.

My question is, is anyone here taking medication, prescribed, for osteoporosis? If so, what is the name and side effects?

Jan,

I remember you telling me that yours is under control with weights and exercising, anything else? I really do not want to have another bone density scan.

 

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

This topic is always on my mind, as I'm small framed, as well had a hysterectomy and gone thru menopause...more vulnerable to osteo.  Positives with me -- do the weight bearing exercise to keep my bones strong.  My last DEXA was all normal except for the left forearm.  Never had the forearm done, but it was a bit less on the scan....reminder -- they compared me on this test to a 30 yr old and I'm 56 yrs.  Plus I'm right handed, so obviouisly good chance my left forearm would be a bit less strong...dah to the docs!!!

If you don't mind me being blunt, DO NOT TAKE THE MEDS.  If you do some deep research tons of side affects and with Fosomax a certain percentage of patients see some type of esophical cancer or jaw issues after approx 5 years of being on the med.  Good friend of mine is a dental hygentist and she informed me a few weeks ago, this drug stays in our bodies for up to 30 yrs...wow!  When they see patients one of the questions on the health form -- if they've used any drugs such as fosomax. If so, they need to do another xray specifically on the jaw, looking for bone changes, etc.  First time I heard this, anyone else?

My take, try to work with the proper foods, supplements and weight bearing exercises.  You claim to exercise but not really sure what type of weights you're doing.  The biggest ones are with free weights which force our bodies to work and not rely on the weight machines.  The most important free weight exercies I'd suggest ---- dead lifts, squats, benches, pull-ups and/or arm curls....all great for working the bigger muscles in our bodies which support us.  

Good to read you're looking into this sooner vs. later.  Hoping I answered all your questions.  If interested in the supplements I'm  taking for this, happy to relay.

Best to you my friend,

Jan

 

Fayard's picture
Fayard
Posts: 343
Joined: May 2011

Jan,

As always, thank you very much for your input. I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE THE MEDICATION. I have to be more disciplined with my weight exercises. I started again every night for 10 to 15 minutes, different part of my arms on different days. What do you think about the time? Yes, I am interested on your opinion about supplements.

I have a question, do bone scans are harmful?

Your friend, Fayard

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Thinking I answered some of your questions on personal posting, but one I missed about harmfulness of DEXA.  Below is what I found online as did think the scans weren't so bad.  The worst with radiation are CT scans.  Equivalent to 400 xrays...gee!!  But...on other side, if we don't have them some "unknowns" can creep up and we surely don't want to be blindsided with more cancer.

 

Weights aren't about just time, but more about the type and intensity of the workouts.  For instance, this morning I have a "free-weight" routine I do at my home gym. Total workout time was 45 minutes.  I've been a huge workout person since the age of 18 yrs, so don't necessarily copy me, but do know this is an important part of increasing bone density.  

 

Hugs,

Jan

 

----------------------------------------

 

A DEXA-Scan uses an extremely low dose of radiation — one-quarter to one-tenth that of a regular chest X-ray — and is considered safe for use on any age patient.

 

DEXA-Scan is so sensitive, it picks up tiny fractures in the spinal column and can detect as little as 1% bone loss in the spine, hips and extremities, usually the wrist. It is the gold standard of diagnosing bone mass and is instrumental in helping physicians find osteoporosis before a fracture occurs.

 

Who needs one?

 

Generally, women over 50 should get a DEXA-Scan, although it’s good for those in their early 40’s to have a baseline scan for comparison in the years to come.

 

Men and children can also benefit from a bone density test as bone loss can strike anyone — just look at these risk factors…

 

  • Natural or surgical menopause
  • Prolonged Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Previous fracture
  • Medication use including steroids and hormones
  • Caucasian or Asian descent
  • Thin or small build
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol Abuse
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Inadequate calcium intake
Fayard's picture
Fayard
Posts: 343
Joined: May 2011

I did not answer your question about vitamin D. Yes, I take it every day. Last time my doc checked for levels, I was perfect!

Any particular brand f mg I should buy for MCHA?

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1057
Joined: Sep 2010

Chemo is notorious for dissolving bone.  I struggled for over two years to get it under control, with the help of my naturopath.  As Jan says, weight bearing exercise is helpful.  The other variables that finally got me on track were drinking bone broth I made at home, adding 2 T. Great Lakes Gelatin powder in my daily smoothies, taking a vitamin K2 suplement, and taking Pure Encapsulations Calcium MCHA with Magnesium.  I'm told that the Calcium MCHA is better at building bone than the meds prescribed for this purpose.  Everyone is different, and I don't know if this combination would work for you, but it sure worked for me.  After being on the calcium MCHA supplement for a year and a half, my ND just recently cut my dosage in half. 

california_artist's picture
california_artist
Posts: 857
Joined: Jan 2009

So, I was thinking about bone loss. Mostly your body tries to maintain a ph of 7.3-7.45 or there abouts, when the levels in your blood get off that realm, your brilliant body goes looking for stores of calcium to make everything in balance again, no matter what. That means if you have a great deal of food that is the highly acidic range, meats, dairy, soda, especially diet soda, as that has the double whammy of acid and phosphorous, your body is going to begin taking the calicium from anywhere in your body that calcium is stored, teeth, bones mostly.

Again, so, the first thing I would do is get out the acid/alkaline food charts and bone up on the alkaline side, while staying mostly away from the highly acidic foods. Those charts will remind you that its the ash made in the body and not the amount of acid  it reads on the outside that counts. That's why lemons are highly ALKALINE, not acidic as one would expect.

Would recommend reading a book called The Acid Alkaline Diet.

 

Think of you often

hope this helps

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2332
Joined: Jun 2010

but I agree with Jan about bisphosphonates.  They scare me.  Two years ago my onc wanted to put me on one.  As an Estrogen positive breast cancer survivor, I was taking Arimidex, which has a well known side effect of osteoporosis.   I was already osteopenic and mild osteoporosis in my lumbar spine.  Onc told me to go home and do my research and decide which one I wanted to take.  What?  I did my research and got confused and decided to ask my pcp.  She said "not yet" because she worried about side effects and wasn't convinced I needed to do anything yet.  So I became even more confused.  One of the drugs (Zometa I think) helps prevent bone mets and since breast cancer likes to go to the bones, that was going to be my drug of choice.  They all have the side effect of jaw necrosis.  I discussed with onc and she decided since pcp wanted to wait, we would.  Then I attended a breast cancer education lecture on bisphosphonates and came away with "no way in hell am I taking any of them unless someone convinces me otherwise".  Fast forward to today and another dexascan and worsening osteoporosis.  Oncologist (breast) switched me from Arimidex to Tamoxifen in January in an attempt to determine if the Arimidex was cintributing to my lack of hair 2 1/2 years after completing chemo.  She added that Tamoxifen is good for bones because it works differently than the aromotase inhibitors and bones like it.   My Vitamin D levels are also very low again.

So, the jury is out apparently on whether anything is recommended for me at this time and I'll get more info when I see oncologist (breast cancer) in August.  I simply don't want to take anything.  I'm hoping things might improve on Tamoxifen and with increasing Vitamin D levels.  I do exercise and do weight bearing exercises.  I intend to do whatever it takes to NOT take a bisphosphonate.  Seems like any rare side effect of drugs I get, and these side effects are just not appealing to me.  We're all living longer (this is a good thing) after cancer diagnoses and more and more side effects of treatments are becoming apparent, doggone it!

Interested to hear what others are hearing.  Good to hear from you, California Artist.

Suzanne

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1057
Joined: Sep 2010

Hey Claudia,

It's so good to see you here.  I hope all is well with you!

I know that the acid/alkaline concept is very popular and often crops up in topics involving cancer.  More recent studies, however, indicate that this hypothesis doesn't hold up in resarch, not with regard to cancer and not with regard to bone loss.:

http://chriskresser.com/the-ph-myth-part-1?inf_contact_key=54547afa763f6e657d38086d7aa6753ec2bfafc4e3ef2907b321837759f8aaec

 

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1057
Joined: Sep 2010
jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Very interesting information.  How many of us haven't shouted out the acid/alkaline diet to help with building bones....me for one.  I don't necessarily follow this type of eating with an iron-clad fist, but can comment about how it helps with anyone like myself having some intestinal/GI issues due to radiation long-term side affects.  

 

Thanks

Jan

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