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Radiation for Prostate Cancer May Boost Fracture Risk

Study found treatment hiked hip fractures by 58 percent

SUNDAY, May 30 (HealthDay News) -- A new study suggests that prostate cancer patients who undergo three-dimensional external-beam radiation therapy may be at increased risk of breaking their hips, but they can take action to strengthen their bones after treatment.

Doctors already know that treatment with androgen-suppression therapy can weaken bones in men. And three-dimensional external-beam radiation therapy appears to boost the risk of hip fracture in women.

To understand the risk in men, researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 166,000 prostate cancer patients aged 66 and older and compared the risk of hip fracture (which takes place in the area hit by radiation) to wrist fracture (an area of the body that isn't affected by the radiation).

After adjusting their statistics so factors such as race and age wouldn't skew the results, the researchers found the radiation treatment boosted the risk of hip fracture by 58 percent but didn't increase the risk of wrist fracture.

"Maintaining bone health is an important part of treating prostate cancer patients," especially those on androgen-suppression therapy, Dr. Jeff Holzbeierlein, a spokesman for the American Urological Association, said in a news release. "These data suggest that we might consider taking similar measures with our patients who are receiving three-dimensional external-beam radiation therapy."

The findings were scheduled to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association, in San Francisco.

More information

For more on prostate cancer, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: American Urological Association, press release, May 30, 2010

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