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Keywords:

  • osteoporosis;
  • joint pain;
  • fracture;
  • quality of life

Abstract

Musculoskeletal health can be compromised by breast cancer treatment. In particular, bone loss and arthralgias are prevalent side effects experienced by women treated with chemotherapy and/or adjuvant endocrine therapy. Bone loss leads to osteoporosis and related fractures, while arthralgias threaten quality of life and compliance to treatment. Because the processes that lead to these musculoskeletal problems are initiated when treatment begins, early identification of women who may be at higher risk of developing problems, routine monitoring of bone density and pain at certain stages of treatment, and prudent application of therapeutic interventions are key to preventing and/or minimizing musculoskeletal sequelae. Exercise may be a particularly suitable intervention strategy because of its potential to address a number of impairments; it may slow bone loss, appears to reduce joint pain in noncancer conditions, and improves other breast cancer outcomes. Research efforts continue in the areas of etiology, measurement, and treatment of bone loss and arthralgias. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the current knowledge on the management and treatment of bone loss and arthralgias in breast cancer survivors and to present a framework for rehabilitation care to preserve musculoskeletal health in women treated for breast cancer. Cancer 2012;. © 2012 American Cancer Society.