Caroline Sunderland is the Osteoporosis Nurse for the Isle of Wight.  


Caroline is based at Laidlaw House at St Mary’s Hospital, Newport.

Telephone: Appointment queries (01983) 552133

Message line                (01983) 552023

Fax: (01983) 559256                      Web:

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break.  There are usually no warnings that you have developed osteoporosis and it is often only diagnosed when a bone is fractured after even minor falls.

What Causes Osteoporosis?

During childhood, bones grow and repair very quickly, but this process slows as you get older.  You gradually start to lose bone density from about 35 years of age. Women lose bone density rapidly in the first few years after the menopause.  Losing bone density is a normal part of the ageing process, but for some people it can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures.

How to Access this Service

You need to be referred by a medical professional such as your GP, Dentist, Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, Breast Care Nurse or any other Nurse Specialist.

Osteoporosis and Breast Cancer

Oestrogen in women helps to keep the bones strong.  Four out of five breast cancers are oestrogen positive which means that treatment for these types of breast cancers either blocks or reduces the oestrogen in your body. This can affect your bone density which may lead to osteoporosis. Chemotherapy treatment can also affect your bone density as the drugs often affect the ovaries. There is some suggestion that the chemotherapy drugs themselves may affect bone density in post-menopausal women.

Tamoxifen and Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs) such as Anastrozole, Letrozole and Exemestane are commonly prescribed for ER+ breast cancers.   Whilst Tamoxifen may affect your bone density it normally should not lead to osteoporosis.  However if you have ovarian suppression treatment as well, this may lead to a loss of bone density and possibly osteoporosis.    AIs can also affect bone density which similarly may lead to osteoporosis.

NICE guidelines recommend that a patient should have a scan at the beginning of their breast cancer treatment, followed by another scan two years later.

Diagnosing Osteoporosis

If your doctor suspects you have osteoporosis, they can make an assessment using an online programme, such as FRAX or Q-Fracture. They may also refer you for a scan to measure your bone mineral density. This type of scan is known as a DEXA (DXA) scan. It is a short, painless procedure and your bone mineral density can then be used to assess your fracture risk.

Treating Osteoporosis

Treatment for osteoporosis is based on treating and preventing fractures and using medication to strengthen bones. The decision about what treatment you have, if any, will depend on your risk of fracture. This will be based on a number of factors, such as your age, medication and the results of your DXA scan.

Preventing Osteoporosis

If you are at risk of developing osteoporosis, you should take steps to help keep your bones healthy. This may include taking regular load-bearing exercise, healthy eating including foods rich in calcium and vitamin D and making lifestyle changes, such as giving up smoking and reducing your alcohol consumption.

Speak to your GP or nurse if you are worried about living with a long-term condition. They may be able to answer any questions you have.

Osteoporosis Support Group

The meetings are held in the Methodist Church in Quay Street Newport between 2pm and 4pm on a Friday.
The remaining meeting dates for this year are as follows:


Contact telephone number for the group is: 07926 053263.

Community Action