Presenter and journalist Trisha Goddard has bravely shared her experience with breast cancer today to raise awareness about the disease and osteoporosis – a condition whereby your bones lose their strength and density. Some breast cancer treatments can lower bone density and increase the risk of osteoporosis in both premenopausal women (women who haven’t yet gone through menopause) and postmenopausal women (women who have gone through menopause).
Despite the paramount importance of preserving healthy bones, new research by YouGov and commissioned by the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS) shows that only 25 percent of people under 55 actively try to prevent osteoporosis.
By sharing her story, Trisha hopes to raise awareness about bone health and change this sorry statistic.
Trisha’s messaging is clear: by taking action to strengthen your bones, we can all live better in older age and avoid the pain and disability of osteoporosis.
The TV legend said: Trisha said: “I never really gave osteoporosis or my bone density a thought until it came to my breast cancer treatment. My surgeon explained that the medication I would be on for the next 10 years would affect my bones.”
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Trisha continued: “While I was ill, the hospital tested my bone density and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that at the age of 50, it was still really good. All the weight training and power walking I had done for half my life had paid off. There was no need for me to be prescribed any additional medication to help preserve my bones through the cancer treatment.
“After five years of being on breast cancer medication, my surgeon checked my bone density again. Great news! I’d barely lost any of my bone density. My surgeon happily explained that this was a direct result of me continuing to weight train, power walk and stay active.
“All that time, my aim had been to stay physically and mentally strong. Without even realising it, not only had I maintained my muscle strength, (but) I had also maintained my bone strength.
“I’m not going to pretend it was easy – far from it – but a little bit of exercise most days was what got me through cancer. I’ll always have worries about my health, but it gives me peace of mind knowing that I’m in control of my bone health.”
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Trisha added: “The whole experience made me realise how important it is, not just for cancer patients, but for everyone to look after their bones. Bone health is so overlooked when it comes to wellbeing.
“It absolutely brought home to me that prevention is better than cure. That’s why I’m joining forces with the Royal Osteoporosis Society to raise awareness of the importance of bone health.”
The ROS has revealed today that Trisha is to become an Ambassador for the charity as part of its mission to bust myths and improve the bone health of the nation.
The need to raise awareness about the condition is of societal importance.
The disease costs the NHS a whopping £4.5 billion per year, a figure set to rise as the population ages.
The ROS has warned this may climb even higher following the effects of lockdown, as the research shows that worryingly over a third of people (35 percent) have exercised less during the pandemic.
Commenting on Trisha’s awareness campaign, Craig Jones, Chief Executive of the Royal Osteoporosis Society said: “Trisha is living proof that the fatalism about osteoporosis and broken bones being just part of getting older is plain wrong.
“There are many things that can increase your risk of osteoporosis, and sadly some cancer treatments are one of them. Many people will need to take a drug treatment for their bones to counteract the effects of their cancer treatment which will reduce their risk of bones becoming fragile.”
Craig continued: “Thankfully, taking weight-bearing exercise, getting enough vitamin D and eating the right foods can also make a big difference, not just for cancer patients but for everyone who wants to proactively manage their bone health.
“It’s typical of Trisha’s openness and can-do attitude that she’s sharing this inspiring message about how to age better and stop osteoporosis in its tracks.”
How to spot osteoporosis – key symptoms
The NHS explains: “Although a broken bone is often the first sign of osteoporosis, some older people develop the characteristic stooped (bent forward) posture.
“It happens when the bones in the spine have broken, making it difficult to support the weight of the body.”