Patients determined as having prostate cancer who are currently starting or undergoing androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), for an anticipated period of 12 months or greater and who receive an initial bone density evaluation. The bone density evaluation must be prior to the start of ADT or within 3 months of the start of ADT.
Androgen suppression as a treatment for prostate cancer can cause osteoporosis (Qaseem, 2008). Men undergoing prolonged androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) incur bone loss at a rate higher than menopausal women (Guise, 2007). In preserving bone health, the goal is to prevent or treat osteopenia/osteoporosis for the patient on ADT and to prevent or delay skeletal related events. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommendations including a baseline assessment of bone density with a DEXA scan and daily calcium and Vitamin D supplementation (Watts, 2012). The DEXA scan is the gold standard for bone density screening. Men at risk for adverse bone consequences from chronic ADT do not always receive care according to evidence based guidelines. These findings call for improved processes that standardize evidence based practice including baseline and follow up bone density assessment (Watts, 2012).
Clinical Recommendation Statements
Bone density screening should be performed at the start of Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer. It should also be performed every 2 years for the patient with continued ADT or for patients with known osteoporosis. Current insurance practice is to possibly cover the cost of bone density screening if osteoporosis is known or if there is a high risk drug. Some patients choose to delay bone density screening until after ADT is started and they therefore have insurance authorization due to the administration of a high risk drug.