Children With Cancer Are at Risk -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

The review reveals that the combination of sedentary behaviours caused by the chronic illness and inhibition of bone growth and mineralization as side effects of treatments put these children at risk for bone problems, including bone necrosis and fractures related to osteoporosis.

Studies have shown that children with cancers have multiple risk factors for osteoporosis and fractures. In this new report, Alessandra Sala, M.D., Ph.D. of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and Università di Milano Bicocca in Milan and Ronald D. Barr, M.B., Ch.B., M.D. also of McMaster University review the topic of paediatric cancer, bone loss and management.

According to the authors, there are two factors that negatively effect bone turnover in children with cancer. First, patients with cancer are less physically active. Second, chemotherapy and cranial radiotherapy are linked to decreased bone formation and abnormally low bone mineral density (BMD). This low BMD may persist for years after treatment and is associated with symptoms, which can be as benign as bone pain or as severe as fractures. The authors report that the risk of fractures in children with low BMD significantly increases several fold.

However, several treatments are available to stimulate mineralization and minimize the loss at such a critical bone development stage. These include physical exercise and dietary modification programs as well as drug treatment with a class of drugs used to treat osteoporosis in post-menopausal women called bisphosphonates.; Source: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.