Strategies to manage Osteoporosis and Cancer

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 10, 2013

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Several strategies can reduce a man's risk for osteoporosis, or lessen its effects if he already has it.

Nutrition : Some studies have suggested a link between a high-fat diet and prostate cancer. However, it is not yet clear which foods or supplements may play a role in reducing the risk of prostate cancer. As far as bone health is concerned, a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is important. Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products; dark green, leafy vegetables; and calcium-fortified foods and beverages. Taking dietary supplements or multivitamins also can help ensure that you meet your body's daily calcium requirement.

However, some evidence suggests that high calcium intake might be associated with the development of prostate cancer. But the studies that produced these findings are not definitive. In fact, other studies have shown a weak relationship, no relationship at all, or the opposite relationship between calcium and prostate cancer. At this point, researchers can only say that the relationship between calcium and prostate cancer risk remains unclear.
Currently, it is recommended that men age 19 and older consume between 1,000 mg (milligrams) and 1,200 mg of calcium per day, which is well below the 2,500 mg per day considered to be the upper tolerable limit.

Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption and bone health. It is synthesized in the skin through exposure to sunlight. Some individuals may require vitamin D supplements to achieve the recommended intake of 400 to 600 IU (International Units) each day.

Exercise : Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. The best exercise for bones is weight-bearing exercise that forces you to work against gravity. Some examples include walking, climbing stairs, dancing, and weight training. Regular exercise, such as walking, may help prevent bone loss and provide many other health benefits, such as reducing pain, relieving stress, and making cancer treatment easier to handle.

Healthy lifestyle : Smoking is toxic to bones as well as the heart and lungs. In addition, smokers may absorb less calcium from their diets. Studies also have found that heavy drinking hurts your overall health, weakens your bones, and increases your risk of broken bones. Moderate drinking—for most men, this means not more than two alcoholic drinks per day—has not been shown to hurt your bones.

Bone mineral density test : A bone mineral density (BMD) test is the best way to determine your bone health. BMD tests can identify osteoporosis, determine your risk for fractures (broken bones), and measure your response to osteoporosis treatment. The most widely recognized BMD test is called a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) test. The test is painless—a bit like having an x ray, but with much less exposure to radiation—and can measure bone density at your hip and spine.

Men being treated for prostate cancer with hormone deprivation therapy should discuss with their doctor whether BMD testing is a good idea. Don’t wait for your doctor to bring up your bone health with you. A new study shows that many men on hormone deprivation therapy for prostate cancer are not being screened or treated for osteoporosis, even when they have other risk factors for the condition.

Medication : There is no cure for osteoporosis, but medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for men with the disease. Although no medicat...

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