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Go fishing to improve your well being after breast cancer treatment

Osteoporosis can affect women after breast cancer treatment but CfR health coordinator and breast clinical nurse specialist Denise Flett says there are a number of things you can do to improve your bone density - including going fly fishing!

Message from Casting for Recovery Healthcare Volunteer Denise Flett.

Bone Health after Breast Cancer Treatment.

Women who have had breast cancer have an increased risk for osteoporosis and bone fracture compared to the general population (Colzani et al, 2016). Poorer bone health in breast cancer survivors is linked to treatment-related ovarian failure (menopause) and/or medications that block the hormone oestrogen or decrease oestrogen levels.

Oestrogen has a protective effect on the bone and reduced levels of the hormone can accelerate bone reabsorption and decrease bone mineral density causing osteoporosis, which is characterised by decreased bone strength.

However, there are things you can do to improve your bone density following treatment.

Bone is living tissue that responds to exercise to become stronger. The best activities to strength bones are weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises. A variety of exercise is good for the bones which can be achieved by movements in different directions and speeds.

A walk in the countryside followed by some fly fishing casting would seem to fit this recommendation!

Other important factors for bone health are the nutrients calcium and vitamin D and many breast cancer survivors may be prescribed these supplements as well as having regular bone density scans to assess bone health.

But not all vitamin D and calcium needs to be prescribed. Foods rich in calcium are dairy products (like milk and cheese), green leafy vegetables, almonds, sesame seeds, dried fruit, pulses and fish with bones (such as sardines).

The best source of vitamin D is sunlight, so time enjoying the outdoors is beneficial to allow our skin to make this vitamin. Other sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, red meat, mushrooms and oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon and trout.

You can provide yourself with more than 100% of your daily requirement of vitamin D by eating 100 grams of cooked rainbow trout. Therefore, a day's fly-fishing will give you the benefits of exercise, exposure to sunlight and hopefully enjoying your catch, whilst assisting in strengthening your bones and giving you a feeling of general wellbeing.

Colzani, E., Clements, M., Johansson, AL., Liljegren, A., He, W., Brand, J., Adolfsson, J., Fornander, T., Hall, P. and Czene, K. (2016) Risk of Hospitalisation …due to bone fractures after breast cancer a registry based cohort study. Br J Cancer, 115 (11), pp 1400-1407

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