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Keywords:

  • breast cancer survivors;
  • osteoporosis;
  • strength training exercises

Purpose: To test a 12-month multicomponent intervention for preventing or treating osteoporosis in 21 postmenopausal women who had completed treatment (except Tamoxifen) for breast cancer, and for whom hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was contraindicated.

Design: Pilot intervention study.

Methods: The intervention consisted of home-based strength and weight training exercises, 5 or 10 mg alendronate per day, 1500 mg calcium per day, 400 IU vitamin D per day, education on osteoporosis, and facilitative strategies to promote adherence to the intervention. Outcome measures were: adherence to the intervention, dynamic balance, muscle strength, and bone mineral density (BMD) of the hip, spine, and forearm.

Findings and Conclusions: Adherence to calcium, vitamin D, and alendronate therapy was above 95%, and adherence to strength training exercises was above 85%. Over the 12 months, the 21 participants had significant improvements in dynamic balance, muscle strength for hip flexion, hip extension, and knee flexion, and BMD of the spine and hip. Participants had a significant decrease in BMD of the forearm. Three of the 21 women who had measurable bone loss at baseline had normal BMD after 12 months of the intervention.