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Welcome to

on Thu, 06/07/2012 - 13:43

Welcome to

Debu Tripathy, MD, CURE Editor-in-Chief

Why is bone health an important and emerging topic? Of all the organ systems in the body, the bone is generally thought of as a physical scaffold without much physiological importance. There is, however, much more to the skeletal system, like its key role in the regulation of calcium. Also, the bone’s inner marrow, while distinct from many of the functions of the bone’s outer cortex, is the origin and maturation site of blood cells.

The bone has a long and interesting relationship with the field of cancer. For centuries, it has long been known as a favorite site for spread of many cancer types. More recently, we understand it to be a reservoir for cancer cells, possibly serving as a springboard to metastases elsewhere. Thinning of the bones, known as osteoporosis, can also be seen more often and earlier in cancer survivors due to anti-cancer therapies.

These many facets of the bone as they relate to cancer are particularly important because monitoring and interventions to maintain bone health can improve health outcomes. In diverse situations ranging from bone metastases, to early-stage cancers that may never spread, indications for therapies targeting the bone are changing as evidence comes in from clinical trials. Elegant biology and large-scale randomized clinical trials have led to new standards of care for bone health that are continuing to evolve in diverse areas of cancer management.

Given the fact that the care of many cancer patients and long-term survivors might be affected by new guidelines for assessment and management of bone health, it is critical to first determine the level of awareness and knowledge of different bone issues along the spectrum of cancer. We have always believed that informed patients make better decisions and are more participatory and confident in their treatment plan.

A survey to patients and physicians, which we will be reporting on at, underscores the fact that while patients and physicians are interested in bone consequences of cancer, not much knowledge is systematically imparted to patients. This represents a good starting point for a dialogue that we believe should carry the trademark of CURE magazine—detailed and balanced information to better understand and take ownership of one’s care.

Editor’s note: Amgen provided financial support of, but the survey, content, and opinions expressed on this site were developed independently by CURE Media Group. In partnership with Amgen, CURE sought to understand what our readers and other patients and survivors understood about bone health and complications related to cancer. The survey was intended to be made fully public and was developed and conducted by an independent company, Harris Interactive, with CURE staff helping to develop and interpret the survey results.