Everyday, millions of women around the world ask for routine screening to look for breast and other cancers. Many countries even have national programs to invite women for a mammogram or a pap smear. But did you know that osteoporosis is more common than breast and cervical cancer combined? An estimated 200 million women are living with osteoporosis worldwide today compared with approximately 6.9 million for breast cancer and 1.5 million for cervical cancer.1,2 Not many people know this fact. Let’s find out why.
If you have osteoporosis, your bones break down over time, making them weaker and more likely to break. In fact, 1 in 3 women aged over 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.1 But you can’t feel your bones becoming weak so for many, a broken bone is often the first sign.
A fracture can be painful, require a long rehabilitation and make it difficult for her to carry out her day-to-day work or activities and make her less independent – and not just for the short term. One year after a hip fracture, 60% of people still need help feeding, dressing or bathing; 80% struggle to drive or shop; and 25% will have died.3-5 So that means that one osteoporotic fracture could affect your mum and her whole family.
Just like breast and cervical cancer, there are tests available to identify if you are at risk. You and your mum should be asking for an osteoporosis assessment too. Start today!
1 Sambrook P, et al. Lancet 2006;367:2010–18.
2 Healthy Bones Australia. Breaking a bone and bone health. 2020. healthybonesaustralia.org.au/fact-sheet.
3 Balasubramanian A, et al. Osteoporos Int 2019;30:79–92.
4 Foundation IO. Spot the signs of a breaking spine. 2018. osteoporosis.foundation/educational-hub/material/brochures.
5 International Osteoporosis Foundation. The Asia-Pacific regional audit. Epidemiology, costs & burden of osteoporosis in 2013. 2013. osteoporosis.foundation/educational-hub/material/audit.