Breast Cancer Drug May Weaken Bones

breast cancerBreast cancer drugs continue to evolve. A recent onlineindustry article highlighted a study that looked at a newer drug prescribed to help prevent the reoccurrence of breast cancer in patients. The drug used to prevent breast cancer in women at high risk for the disease may actually be the cause of bone loss in some postmenopausal women, a new study found. The drug, Aromasin (exemestane), has been proven to reduce the chances of breast cancer by 65 percent, but the negative side is it reduces bone density by about three times in older women who are taking it, Canadian researchers report. “The drug did affect bone density at the hip and spine,” said lead researcher Dr. Angela Cheung, a senior scientist at the University Health Network in Toronto.

Breast Cancer Drug Risk Must Be Weighed

“It does not affect everyone; about 65 percent of women have some bone loss.” The fear of bone loss is not a reason not to take the drug, Cheung said. “You really need to pay attention to your bone health when you take this medication, especially for preventing breast cancer.” However, for women who are at high risk for fractures, other drugs should be considered, she added. Women who were prescribed this drug were also taking calcium and vitamin D supplements, and having their bone density monitored, Cheung said. An older more familiar drug, tamoxifen, actually builds bone, but it is known to be less effective at preventing breast cancer, she said. “But, for someone with healthy bones it is worthwhile taking the medication.”

Breast Cancer Patients and Breast Reconstruction

Breast cancer patients are typically taking some sort of prescription drug regimen following breast cancer surgery for an extended period of time. If they are considering breastreconstruction is important to involve Dr. Seify early in the process. Dr. Seify works closely with the patients’ doctors to help determine the best breast reconstruction option for the patient. In some cases the breast reconstruction options may be directly impacted by different factors including but not limited to prescription drug regimen, age of the patient, overall patient health and other factors. Dr. Seify strives to offer different options for breast reconstruction based on the patient individual situation. Dr. Seify is one of the only breast reconstruction plastic surgeons involved in clinical trials using fat grafting and stem cell advancements for breast reconstruction. Traditional methods including implants and Tram flap methods are also options for some patients. Considering breast reconstruction options early in the process helps patients to make better and more informed decisions.


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