I see there is yet another news story out concerning osteoporosis drugs. I seem to be writing about this subject a lot recently. Here is my take on this new story that biophosphonate drugs (like alendronate/Fosamax) may double the risk of oesophageal cancer. You can read the original story from the Daily Telegraph here: Osteoporosis Doubles Cancer Risk.
My quick headline view is that fractures and osteoporosis are FAR more common than oesophageal cancer, and that the risk of early death after fractures and falls in older people is pretty high. So, anything that helps avoid these fractures in osteoporotic people has got to be a good thing.
BUT, where I have a problem is that these biophosphonate meds are commonly being given to prevent osteoporosis in menopausal women and I don’t believe there is a there is a lot of evidence that this is any more effective than lifestyle and dietary changes. I don’t actually know, but there are certainly some rumblings about the efficacy of these drugs used in this way.
My view would be to check your risk using the bone marker test as I have written about before and not take stuff just because you MAY be at risk. If you don’t need to, don’t accept an additional risk of cancer. Makes sense.
The other things to do are learn what the risk factors are for osteoporosis and knock out as many of the dietary ‘calcium blockers’ as I call them that you can. Get lots of weight-bearing exercise like walking and weights and ensure your oestrogen levels if you need to (although again, I always advise you check your levels of good and bad oestrogens before taking oestrogen-promoting substances.)
You can get the full osteoporosis factsheet I have written on this subject for more info should you need it. (And many do! Since I wrote that last piece about magnesium and bones, I have organised several of the bone marker tests for people and most of them came out positive so the people were better forewarned and have time to take steps, literally in some cases!, which is fab.)
- Osteoporosis Drugs May Be Linked to Cancer Risk (webmd.com)