Prostate cancer therapy reduces bone density

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: August 8th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Think osteoporosis only affects women? Think again.

Older men can lose bone density from a prostate cancer treatment called androgen deprivation therapy, or A-D-T.

A-D-T retards tumor growth by reducing production of male sex hormones. But when those hormones are in short supply, osteoporosis can result, increasing the risk of bone fractures.

A study published in a recent issue of The Journal of Urology shows how quickly osteoporosis can progress during A-D-T treatment.

In the study, researchers tracked two groups of elderly prostate cancer patients, each containing thirty-one men.

The experimental group was treated with A-D-T. Men in the control group had their prostate glands removed and did not use chemical therapy.

After one year, average bone loss in the experimental group ranged from two-and-a-half percent to five-and-a-half percent, depending on where researchers took measurements. The control group lost less than two percent.

Twenty of the A-D-T patients were followed for a second year, when bone loss was less than two-and-a-half percent.

On the basis of their findings, researchers recommended bone density analysis for A-D-T patients after one year.

They also concluded the best site for analysis is an area of the femur called Ward’s triangle, where the greatest bone loss was observed.

The researchers pointed out that many questions remain unanswered about how therapies and treatment schedules affect bone loss.

But one basic truth is coming through loud and clear already… if you’re on A-D-T, talk to your doctor A-S-A-P about osteoporosis.