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4 Small Changes to Protect Your Bones at Home continued...

Weight-bearing activities, in particular, strengthen bones. These work your bones against gravity. Walking is one of the best examples of this type of activity. Tai Chi, a traditional Chinese martial art, is also a gentle option for helping to preserve bone health and balance for people with bone mets. It combines slow, circular, fluid movements with deep breathing and relaxation.

4. Avoid alcohol and cigarettes

The evidence is mounting that smoking increases the risk of having a fracture. Plus, smokers may take longer to heal if they do have a fracture. So if you smoke, now is the time to quit. In addition, avoid excess alcohol. It can interfere with your body's balance of calcium as well as the production of hormones and vitamins that protect bones. In addition, falls are more likely if you drink too much.

How to Protect Your Bones With Medicine

As careful as you may be, you need medical treatment to help prevent fractures and other bone problems when you have bone metastases. First, your doctor will treat your primary cancer, the one that spread to your bones. Your doctor may also suggest starting bisphosphonate therapy as soon as possible to reduce the effects of bone metastasis on your body. In addition to preventing the breakdown of bone, these drugs often help with pain relief.

Bisphosphonates such as pamidronate ( Aredia) and zoledronic acid ( Zometa) slow the damage to bone and reduce the risk of fracture. You receive them by intravenous (IV) infusion every three to four weeks.

If the bisphosphonates don't help or stop working, your doctor may prescribe denosumab (Xgeva). This is a new monoclonal antibody that interferes with cancer's ability to break down bone. You receive it by injection under the skin every four weeks.

How to Protect Your Bones With Procedures

Your doctor may recommend radiation to kill cancer cells in the bones. This can be done with external beam radiation, which focuses on one section of bone, or with radiopharmaceuticals, which are given by injection and release radiation to many different areas of bone.

How Cancer Spreads to Bones

See what bone metastasis does to your bones, and how to fight back.
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