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Osteoporosis risk, Survivors of breast cancer, Calcium and vitamin D, Nutritional status



  1. Lindsey, Ada M. PhD, RN
  2. Gross, Gloria PhD, RN
  3. Twiss, Jan PhD, RN, APRN
  4. Waltman, Nancy PhD, RN, APRN
  5. Ott, Carol PhD, RN, OCN
  6. Moore, Timothy E. MD


Postmenopausal survivors of breast cancer for whom hormone replacement therapy is contraindicated are at risk for development of osteoporosis. The primary purpose of this article is to describe, in a sample of 30 postmenopausal survivors of breast cancer, their calcium and vitamin D intake compared with recommended dietary guidelines for those nutrients for postmenopausal women not taking hormone replacement therapy and the body mass index of these women as nutritional status risk factors for development of osteoporosis. Bone health and presence of osteoporosis were determined by bone mineral density testing of the spine, hip, and forearm. To obtain calcium and vitamin D intake, including supplements, 3-day diet records were completed; height and weight measures were used to calculate body mass index. The sample participants ranged in age from 42 to 65 years; the majority (56%) had been menopausal or off hormone replacement therapy for 5 years or less, and 70% had completed breast cancer treatment for 5 years or less (except tamoxifen). The majority (63%) were of medium body frame size; 30% were of small frame size. The mean body mass index (27.3) and mean weight (160 lbs) indicate that these women, as a group, were overweight. Although a large percent (63%) were taking calcium supplements, the mean daily intake (diet and supplements) of calcium (1,353 mg) and vitamin D (403 IU) was less than the recommended dietary guidelines for these nutrients in this population. At study entry, 80% of the women were osteopenic (60%) or osteoporotic (20%) and none was receiving treatment/prevention for osteoporosis; only 1 had a previous known osteoporosis diagnosis. This is a special group of women for whom screening and preventive strategies for osteoporosis are imperative.