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CNE Article

Screening, Prevention, Detection, and Treatment of Cancer Therapy-Induced Bone Loss in Patients With Breast Cancer

Connie E. Limburg
ONF 2007, 34(1), 55-63 DOI: 10.1188/07.ONF.55-63

Purpose/Objectives: To identify protocols to screen, detect, prevent, and treat cancer therapy-induced bone loss resulting in osteoporosis in patients with breast cancer.

Data Sources: Published books and articles.

Data Synthesis: Normal bone remodeling is affected by hormonal stimulation. Breast cancer therapies target hormones that promote cancer cell growth. Chemotherapy regimens and hormone ablation may cause ovarian failure, resulting in decreased hormone levels. A decrease in hormones, in estrogen- and progesterone-positive and -negative patients, introduces an environment for decreased bone remodeling, which may result in thinning bone and osteoporosis. The acceleration of bone loss leading to osteoporosis can result in higher fracture rates among breast cancer survivors.

Conclusions: With proper use of screening tools, patient education, and advice about lifestyle changes, all prior to cancer treatment, healthcare professionals may decrease or prevent bone loss in patients with breast cancer. Doing so minimizes healthcare costs and decreases morbidity and mortality rates in breast cancer survivors.

Implications for Nursing: As more individuals diagnosed with breast cancer are surviving for extended periods of time, oncology nurses are providing long-term follow-up care. Part of the care should include proper screening and patient education for healthier recovery and prevention of further healthcare complications as a result of cancer treatment.

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