Risk factors

The first thing to know is that estrogen (sex hormone) is the bone-protective hormone in your body. Anything that decreases estrogen (sex hormone) is bad for bone health. Breast cancer treatments may decrease sex hormones (estrogen). So if you are a breast cancer survivor or a current patient, the treatment you receive increases your risk of osteoporosis.

You may be treated with chemotherapy drugs. These drugs help treat your cancer so that is good. But at the same time they stop your ovaries from making sex hormones (estrogen). Without sex hormones (estrogen), bones can get weak. That is how treatment makes you prone to osteoporosis.

Even after menopause the drugs you are given can decrease sex hormone (estrogen). For example, aromatase inhibitors stop tissues in your body from making sex hormones (estrogen). Women whose cancer cells show increased growth with sex hormones (estrogen) are the ones who receive these types of drugs. This puts you at risk for osteoporosis. You may be able to tell from your clinical risk factors whether you are more likely to get weak bones.

Some you cannot change, these are called non-modifiable risks. Some you can control, these are called modifiable risks. Let's look at the ways you can improve bone health and protect yourself.

Women at greatest risk for developing osteoporosis are those who are White or Asian, women who are thin, women who smoke and anyone taking thyroid medicines or steroid, cortisone-type medications like prednisone.

Osteoporosis is very common, so common that doctors say that half of all women over the age of 50 will have a broken bone from osteoporosis at some time during their life.

If left untreated, this condition won’t get better on its own.

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