If You’re Being Treated for Prostate Cancer, Talk with Your Doctor About Bone Health

Coping with a diagnosis of prostate cancer is a full-time job in itself. And between testing, medical appointments, trying to make sense of all those fancy terms your doctor is throwing around, and exploring treatment options, you’ve got plenty to think about. But there’s one more thing you (or anyone you know who has prostate cancer) also need to consider: your bones. What do bones have to do with the prostate? Plenty.

There are actually two forces at work here. First, some of the treatments used if the cancer is caught early can actually lead to a decrease in bone mass and an increased risk of bone fractures. Second, cancer cells can spread from the prostate to the bones where they gradually weaken the bones. This kind of spreading, called metastases, occurs in about 75 percent of men whose cancer is in an advanced stage.

At the very least, weakened and/or fractured bones may cause pain, discomfort, and lack of mobility that can significantly decrease your quality of life. In addition, a recent study found that men with a history of bone fractures have a 39% lower survival rate from prostate cancer than men with no history of fractures.

Bottom line: if you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, be sure to ask your doctor about how to keep your bones healthy. Most doctors are aware of the connection between prostate cancer and bone health. But not everyone. So be your own advocate. If your doctor doesn’t bring up the issue, bring it up yourself.

We also recommend that you take a look through Bone Health in Focus: A Report about Prostate Cancer’s Impact on Bones, which you can download for free by clicking here. It’s a great source of information and support for you and your family.



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