Your Bones and Cancer Treatments

By Lakeview Physio
Susan Bocchinfuso
BSc.PT, BA. Psych, Acupuncture, Yoga, CLT, Cancer Rehab, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist
October 31, 2021

Once your body reaches menopause bone loss increases. On average, a woman can lose 6% of bone in the first 3 years of menopause.

Did you know?

…your bones are living tissue? They respond to the stresses that are placed on them. 

…estrogen plays a major role in bone formation?  Once your body reaches menopause bone loss increases.  On average, a woman can lose 6% of bone in the first 3 years of menopause.

…bone health is particularly important after breast cancer treatment?   After your treatments you might be put on a medication called an aromatase inhibitor. These medications can sometimes cause muscle and joint pain that can make it more difficult to get up and move.  But moving more will help decrease aromatase inhibitor related pain and improve your bone health.  

Exercise will help you build better quality, stronger bones.

Walking is the best exercise to start building stronger bones.  But for bone health you will want to add in some variety.  This helps increase the good stress on your bones which stimulates them to become stronger. Walk up a hill, include stairs, and vary your speed are ideas on how to use walking as a means to better bone health.  And although walking is a great place to start, a comprehensive and individualized exercise program is essential.  Knowledge is key to long term bone health.  Working with a physical therapist who is experienced with women’s health & cancer treatment will optimize your bone health.

You should also consider having a bone density test done yearly.  This is true if you are in menopause but especially important if you have also had cancer treatments.  A bone density test is called a Dexa Scan and it will tell you more about your bone health. This is really important to know as the research tells us that exercise can help build stronger bones if you have low bone density.  Long after scars from surgery heal or when hair finally comes in after chemo, bone health may be the last thing on your mind, but it shouldn’t be.

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