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Long-term effects of Chemo and Bone Density

I had a bone density test on July 7 and have graduated from osteopenia in lumbar area to osteoporosis with a T-score of -3.2.

Not that it's going to make a difference, but does anyone know how Carbo and Taxol affect bone density in the long-term? The information I've come across only seems to deal with side effects during treatment.

My doctor has referred me to an endocronologist and want to be prepared with questions and discuss alternatives to drugs and hormones.


  • I am so sorry to hear that you have osteoporosis - I did hear that carboplatin and taxol causes bone density loss.  My doctor or oncologist wont give me a bone density test.  UURRG!
    I do believe an endocrinologist is a great idea. 
    What we go through but, we are here! :) Be Well!
  • @beachgirl - ggrrr...another wonderful side effect of chemo and one that I wasn't expecting. I still have a bit of neuropathy in one heel but not enough to really bother me. The osteo on the other hand...LOL It's an education once again into another health issue.  Thanks for the info.
  • Fearless_Moderator
    @kastoyles Good question and something we should be aware of.  I don't recall the subject ever arising in the course of my treatment over the past five years but I've now put it on my list for my next consult.  Hopefully some of our other members might be able to shed some light.  
  • Interesting to read of your experience with bone density and in my case also osteoarthritis in my wrists, thumbs and a couple of fingers.  I had gone to my family doctor with pain in both thumbs and both are stiff, end results was a diagnosis of the osteoarthritis. My bones were noted as being thin so I was sent for a bone scan. I have moderate to severe facet joint degeneration in L4 and L5.  Although my bones are noted as being thin my Dr. does not want to treat anything at this point, which I am fine with. I did not have any issues of this nature (other than some mild degeneration of the spine) prior to chemo treatments and prior to the cancer diagnosis. I asked if these recent issues were in fact related to having had chemo and was told it was unlikely, however I am not buying that as it all just seems to coincidental.  Any thoughts?
  • Fearless_Moderator
    @Gratitude123 my bone density was assessed just before I was diagnosed seven years ago. At the time I was like  a 25 year old apparently. It's never been followed since and I'd be surprised with the same outcome given my age and health.  Something to add to my list for my GP one of these days.
    As for degeneration and osteoarthritis I am riddled with both and have been for years now. C 2 & 3 and L4 and 5 all severe degeneration but no change since my diagnosis.  Same applies to the osteoarathritis that is in my big toes, thumbs and wrists and especially my knees. But again no change since diagnosis so I'm inclined not to link one with the other myself. 
  • It's tricky to know all right what may or may not be related to chemo. I guess at the end of the day it doesn't make any difference as the end result is learning to live with these other body changes.

    So far neither the osteoarthritis or the degeneration are life altering and for that I am very grateful. 

    Have  great rest of the day.

    Thankyou for your reply.
  • Hi All, I’ve been reading everyone’s posts on OVdialogue since my diagnosis of high serous Stage 3 ovarian cancer three years ago. OC is not a common cancer so I’m grateful that there’s a group of us out there sharing information and supporting each other all across Canada. 
    A few days ago I got the news from my doctor after a CT scan that I now have a hairline fracture in my spine. Like many women with ovarian cancer, I have had enough losses: my health, my ability to walk without pain, the cancer recurring twice, the unexpected and devastating death of my husband who was my first and best support, the fatigue and chemo-brain that left me unable to communicate adequately with my treatment team and supportive friends. I felt like the biblical Job, railing at the heavens. The last thing I needed was to lose my ability to walk altogether and give up even more of my independence. 
    So I decided to research bone loss, and the answer is that yes, both chemo and radiation contribute to bone loss. The majority of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are in their early 60s, a time when bone thinning occurs anyway due to hormone decreases after menopause.  When bone loss happens during treatment it’s just assumed that it’s due to aging and/or hysterectomy.  Other causes - and there are many - such as lack of exercise and genetic inheritance, are also listed. But there is clear evidence that chemo and radiation for ovarian cancer both play a part in the decrease of bone. 
    The good news is that there are some drugs in development that could stop the bone loss caused by treatment. I’ve got my fingers crossed that these will be available in the near future to keep us all as strong as possible during treatment and after. Because really, I am so done with loss. 
  • kastoyles
    edited December 2021
    @HoldingOn I'm so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, recurrence and the loss of your husband. And now your spinal fracture.
    I was diagnosed with osteoporosis in my spine in July 2021. My hip and femur neck remain in the osteopenia category. The results of the last few scans show that my spine was in the osteopenia category before chemo and now...osteoporosis. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and treated at age 61.
    Since the latest scan I've been doing lots of research into diet, exercise and of course, the drugs - which I'm trying to avoid for as long as possible. I'm working on my balance, being mindful of movement, diet and supplements. Hopefully I can avoid problems and drugs.
    There are groups on Facebook that address osteoporosis from a natural viewpoint, conventional treatments and yoga/exercise. You might find one of these helpful...I did. Some women indicated that seeing a physical therapist has given them relief with the pain from the fracture.
    Stay strong!

  • Thanks so much ladies for your input, it is very helpful.

    I also am so sorry to hear of your loss(holding on). I cannot imagine how difficult all of this has been for you. 

    It is good to know there are others who are just like me  adjusting to a new body and a different life.

    Please keep holding on.🤗

  • Fearless_Moderator
    @HoldingOn you've sure had your share of loss, more than most of us and I am so sorry for that.  What I do read in your last message though is hope and positivity.  It looks like no matter what's being thrown your way you're overcoming it and that's a testament to your resilience.  Know this community is with you and behind you all the way.  Stay safe, stay well and reach out to us for whatever your needs may be, even if only to know someone is listening.
    Big big hugs to you,