Bone is a living tissue that is constantly being removed and replaced by new bone tissue. Bone is made from protein called collagen and minerals such as calcium. Bone density is a measure of how strong your bones are.
Losing bone density is common during a cancer diagnosis as often its treatments can lead to reduced calcium levels in the body therefore leading to loss in bone density.
Screening for bone health
A DEXA scan is a bone mineral density test that measures bone density in various parts of your body. Please speak to your healthcare team for more information about this scan.
Tips that can help reduce your risk of bone loss and promote strong, healthy bones during cancer treatment:
- Calcium: Calcium which we need for good bone health and strength decreases as we age, so it’s important to make sure that we are getting enough of it in our diet. Calcium-rich foods include cheese, yogurt and broccoli, or choose from calcium-fortified foods such as orange juice, milk and pasta.
- Vitamin D: This vitamin helps your body absorb and hold on to calcium. Vitamin D is created in the skin using energy from sunlight and can also be found in vitamin D-fortified foods like milk.
- Exercise: Weight-bearing exercise, these are exercises where you legs and arms support you body’s weight. Things like walking stimulates production of bone-forming cells. Resistance exercises ones where you use your muscle strength to work against resistance. When your muscles pull on your bones it boosts your bone strength.
The National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) have developed range of booklets with information and advice for cancer patients who have finished their treatment. Good bone health after cancer treatment booklet can be found here.