According to a new Northwestern Medicine study, a middle aged woman, say of 54, is likely to suffer from hip fracture if she is a breast cancer survivor. Though hip fracture is not common in a middle aged woman, it is a likely development in those who have gone through the therapies for breast cancer treatment.
Researchers are of the opinion that breast cancer treatment causes early menopause and along with breast cancer drugs it leads to weakening of bones, which later causes hip fractures. The study has been published in the February issue of Clinical Cancer Research.
Hip fractures are rare cases in people under the age of 70. Yet Beatrice Edwards, a physician of Northwestern Medicine observed that quite a few breast cancer survivors in their 50s were complaining of the problem.
Researchers did a meticulous study of 6 of such women over one year assessing the type of breast cancer they had, the treatment they were provided and the consequence of hip fracture on their life. Beatrice Edwards remarks that these women reported difficulty in climbing stairs and doing their daily chores even a year after the fracture.
Surprisingly, most of the women did not have osteoporosis but had lower bone mineral density suggesting that the bone structure may have been altered following chemotherapy and early menopause.
These women had been provided treatment for early-stage breast cancer including lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy with cytoxan and adriamycin one to four years before fracture occurred. At the time of the fracture, all the women were perimenopausal.
Four of these six women received aromatase inhibitors (AIs) as a part of their treatment and studies have associated AIs with possible bone loss in women. Edwards cites that bone loss is a possible adverse effect of breast cancer drugs but further research needs to be done before the mode of treatment is changed.