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Arthritis vs. Bone Mets

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  • jramick
    jramick Member Posts: 30
    edited May 2014

    Prayerrv:  BONE ISLAND - I was also diagnosed with this on my hip. X Ray stated it could not rule out mets.  I then insisted MRI which shows benign growth of bone.  Currently I need a follow up one to make sure there are no changes.  It hurts 5 years later as I am told it can cause bursitis.

    As for arthritis, my bone scans show severe arthritis from neck to knees and most severe in spine.  I questioned this because all of my testing prior to dx at 47 never showed arthritis in any of these places.  My onco told me that certain chemo medications can cause this as long term effect.  I was on taxotere and cytoxan. That may explain why so many young ladies here now have arthritis.

  • Nettie1964
    Nettie1964 Member Posts: 627
    edited May 2014

    Ladies, please forgive me, but I don't have time to read through all the posts, but I was wondering if anyone has an opinion or experience with the following:

    I have off and on back pain, it's never really severe, but at times will cause me to sit down.  It does NOT become worse at night, in fact, it seems to go away!  I was just wondering if this could be mets or just plain old arthritis?  Yes I have gone to several doctors but none seem to think it's mets and none will run test!  

    Just looking for someone that may have the same symptoms!

  • jramick
    jramick Member Posts: 30
    edited May 2014

    Hi Nettie

    See my post above yours.  Talk to your doctor's. Your onco could order a bone scan or even better a lumbar MRI.  It could be arthritis or you could have a spine issue like a bulging disk.  Despite the diagnosis, there are many options for treatment.  Any pain that does not go away after 2 to 3 weeks or gets worse should be discussed  with your oncologist.  Some types of medication from cancer treatment can also cause pains/aches.  It is the best way to put your worries to rest by getting it checked out.  Good luck!

  • LW0919
    LW0919 Member Posts: 37
    edited September 2014

    Interesting thread.  I had an MRI for spinal pain that would not go away and bothered me more at night and in the morning.  I was so worried but was told I have arthritis.  I'm 43....I wondered how I could have arthritis already but now it makes since that the chemo could have contributed to it.   It's hard though to have to worry about every ache and pain now.

  • chrissyb
    chrissyb Member Posts: 11,438
    edited September 2014

    Hi LW0919, it is indeed an awful thing to have to wonder if every little ache and pain is mets but when you end up getting the scans and the result is arthritis it makes you want to jump for joy.  Really weird thing that, when you are happy you have arthritis.  So glad your scans were good!

    Love n hugs.   Chrissy

  • LW0919
    LW0919 Member Posts: 37
    edited September 2014

    absolutely!  I was thrilled to find out it was only arthritis!  I consider myself lucky.  

  • barbie4311
    barbie4311 Member Posts: 1
    edited December 2014
    I am not diagnosed with Breast Cancer as of yet. My mammogram at MD Anderson showed architectural distortion which is a red flag....so ultrasound--way way toooo dense--couldn't be read...so ordered MRI---they didn't see the distortion..but want another MRI in six months..I went to my onc i had for a thankfully turned out to be benign but solid ovarian mass---he use to be chief of gyn at md anderson...he is awesome..he wanted the MRI/mamo/US reread by another radiologist---BUT i had a bone scan due to a weird soft tissue mass on my left rib---(onc thinks its nothing and thinks it is a weird fat distribution due to this recent weight loss I have had--unintentional of 15 pounds...already thin)....and on the bone scan my BREAST lit up!!! Told the MD Anderson breast doc when she called---she said it was strange...also my sternoclavicular junction lit up a LOT!!! and, other areas in my body like hips, and other joints...but the sternum and clavicle were the brightest...does anyone know about the BREAST itself lighting up on bone scan??? Thanks....barb
  • chrissyb
    chrissyb Member Posts: 11,438
    edited December 2014

    Hi Barbie, I've never heard of the breast tissue lighting up on a bone scan. The radio isotope that is given prior to the scan is usually absorbed by the bone and the bone only as far as I know. I think a good conversation with your doc is definitely in order.

    Hope you get your answers soon.

    Love n hugs. Chrissy

  • SchoolCounselor
    SchoolCounselor Member Posts: 228
    edited December 2014

    Hi all,

    I have had pain in my knee for about a month now. I am taking naproxen daily- which I know is bad- it takes the edge off the pain, but the minute it wears off. The pain becomes quite significant. I know that we are supposed to contact the MO if we have pain lasting more that 2 weeks.

    I'm on exemestane and i had joint pain all over my body, but that seems to have subsided. I'm just left with this knee.

    I had a PET scan a year ago and it was fine. Is it possible/probable for mets to show up so quickly. Does this sound like arthritis?

    I havent called my MO because I'm afraid to say the word mets out loud....... What do you all think?

  • chrissyb
    chrissyb Member Posts: 11,438
    edited December 2014

    Hi Schoolcouncellor, that pain could indeed be arthritis but it would be a good idea to get an xray. That will show the condition of the cartelage which will confirm, or not, the arthritis theory.

    Mets do on occassion show up in the knee but it's rare so at least you do have that to hang on to.

    Love n hugs. Chrissy

  • SchoolCounselor
    SchoolCounselor Member Posts: 228
    edited December 2014

    Thanks Chrissy, I will call my MO tomorrow... I'm hoping its arthritis!

  • chrissyb
    chrissyb Member Posts: 11,438
    edited December 2014

    Keeping everything crossed for you.

    Love n hugs. Chrissy

  • McClure77
    McClure77 Member Posts: 5
    edited January 2016

    I see that this thread has been inactive for a while, but I thought I'd post this question since it seems many of us have struggled with this area. I'm 41 and was diagnosed with stage 3a IDC and NIDC at age 40. I've had pain in my lower back for just over a month, so my PC ordered an xray. Today the results came back and it shows diffuse arthritis. How accurate is this? Is early metastasis every mistaken for arthritis? I've read studies that show that breast cancer and arthritis together have shown a larger incidence of metastasis in the bone, but I can't tell if I should be getting a second opinion or pushing for more scans or something. I'm sure most of you understand the horrible feeling of not wanting to be paranoid, but also wanting to be as careful as possible!

  • chrissyb
    chrissyb Member Posts: 11,438
    edited January 2016

    Hi McClure, as you know, anything is possible but I've not heard of someone being told they have arthritis when they have mets. On scans mets look different to arthritis and it is the job of the radiologist to know the difference.

    We all get a little paranoid at times about the cancer coming back but this is what I would call normal.........the most important thing for us to do is be vigilant to changes and get them checked out as you did. .....you did exactly the right thing. Your next chore is to accept the result, do what you can to alleviate the arthritic pain and carry on.

    Love n hugs. Chrissy

  • McClure77
    McClure77 Member Posts: 5
    edited January 2016

    Hi chrissy

    Thanks! Yeah I guess my concern is that the radiologist didn't even remark on metastasis in his findings. It says no fractures, but it seems like he didn't even look for any metastasis. I've read that early metastasis can be hard to see in a simple xray, so he'd have to be LOOKING for it to find it. I'm not saying I don't also have arthritis, but did he see that and just stop there? I would have expected that given my history, there would have been a "looked for metastasis, none found" or something. I would feel better about the results if they seemed thorough, rather than cursory, if that makes sense. Pain doesn't bother me, overall, but the thought of waiting too long to find a problem does!

  • jenjenl
    jenjenl Member Posts: 409
    edited January 2016

    ive called the place and talked to the person who read it and asked pointed questions.

  • brooksidevt
    brooksidevt Member Posts: 1,432
    edited January 2016

    McClure, I had a similar experience with a radiologist's report. I was in the ER for something and had a CT scan. The report had no mention of lack of mets. I asked my pcp (small hospital--scans read by a distant service) and he indicated that the order the ER doc placed did not mention, "history of breast cancer." Now I know to be certain the radiologist always knows my history.

    I had rib pain a year or so ago, asked my onc about an x-ray and he indicated that a bone scan is the way to check out that problem. Had the scan. Arthritis showed up in oodles of places, but, as the scan is head to toe, both back and front, I have a pretty good sense of security about having no bone mets. I'd suggest asking your onc about a bone scan, and your pcp about PT.

  • McClure77
    McClure77 Member Posts: 5
    edited January 2016

    @jenjenl Yes, that might be a good idea! Perhaps I'll call and see if I can find anything out.

    @BrooksideVT: Yes, exactly. The imaging place asked about cancer in general, but not the type, severity or anything else that could increase the concern for metastasis. Given the logical assumption that mentioning other possibilities as negative (Fracture, Alignment) would indicate that you were checking for possibilities, I remain concerned that not having been mentioned means it was not considered. After all, I'm honestly more likely to have metastasis than a fracture given my history and lack of any recent accidents that could cause a fracture. I think I will also push for a bone scan with my oncologist. I also might get the film and have another radiologist look at it. I hate wondering if I'm just being paranoid, but then I think that the possible result of being paranoid is still way better than the possible result of leaving stones unturned. Even if we have good doctors, we still remain the ones who care most about our own health!

  • hrf
    hrf Member Posts: 706
    edited March 2016

    an X-ray won't show mets. You need a bone scan. I've been through a similar experience.....bone scan and MRI are the way to go to be absolutely certain.

  • mkw1
    mkw1 Member Posts: 102
    edited May 2016

    Today, I visited the orthopedic hospital because of experiencing stabbing and burning pain on my right thigh, especially after talking walks. I had previously had a knee replacement on that same leg, but the knee is not bothering me.  The PA took several x-rays which showed arthritis in my lower spine. How can I be sure it is arthritis and not bone mets? Should I contact my Oncologist immediately or should I wait two more months until my scheduled appointment?

    I feel the pain mostly at night if I took a vigorous walk that evening, or if I spend a lot of times running errands. Otherwise the pain is minimal.

    I finished the chemo 5 years ago, I was stage IIA, and I had one positive lymph node out of seven. I have been on arimidex for almost 5 years.

  • chrissyb
    chrissyb Member Posts: 11,438
    edited May 2016

    Hi mkw1, yes I get the same sort of pain and I also have both knees replaced with arthritis in my spine. I had the same concern but I thought mine was progression as I'm already stage IV.

    After much investigation it was proven to be referred pain from my back.

    I understand how concerned you are and if it would make you feel better, a phone call to your onc wouldn't hurt........even if it's just to give him/her a heads up.

    Love n hugs. Chrissy

  • RNstrong
    RNstrong Member Posts: 10
    edited November 2016

    Hello everyone! I know I am not supposed to ask questions here if Im not diagnosed but I know you ys have been there and done that and might give me some suggestions. I am not diagnosed with breast CA. But recently, during a diagnotic MRI, they found two lesions on my right breast. I did a 2nd look US and 4 docs said it is not worrisome and doing an MRI biopsy is not recommended at this point. Then yesterday, just a few days after the 2nd look US, I had a severe lower back pain. I had to call 911 to drive me to the ER. It felt stiff and painful when i change position. I've been dealing with this back pain since 2013, but yesterday was the worse. It is usually at this time if the year when it gets cold. My question is kinda like stupid so please dont laugh at me coz my mind is lurking in a very dark place right now. I am wondering, could I have breast ca that have metastisized? How do you know if it is just muscle spasm, joint pain or mets?

  • chrissyb
    chrissyb Member Posts: 11,438
    edited November 2016

    Hi AnxiousRN, if your MRI has come back clear there is no way that you could have mets to the bone. If you have arthritic pain at this time of year normally I would be thinking more towards the progession of that.

    Try not to worry too much but do make sure you get it well checked out.

    Love n hugs. Chrissy

  • RNstrong
    RNstrong Member Posts: 10
    edited November 2016

    Thanks Chrissy. The MRI didnt come back clear. They found two lesions but the radiologist during the 2nd look US saw she's not impressed and would not recommend mri biopsy at this time. Still waiting for my BS's opinion on this. The two lesions are a 6mm enhancing non mass and 5mm enhancing mass both in the inner quadrant of the right breast. Im kinda like worried. What if it is CA? And what if what Im feeling on my lower back and bones were mets? Cant help but think that way. I just dont know the difference between arthritis and bone mets pain. Im going to see my ortho doc this wednesday and will make sure it gets checked out. My radiologist rated the 2nd US as Birads 3, downgraded from MRI's birads 4. Do we even still use Birads 3? Im not okay with the wait and see approach however I am also not okay with poking my breast for no reason, coz they said biopsies can cause scarring and will be difficult for imaging in the future. I have strong family hx. Mom had breast ca at age 37 died at 39. Her mother and my paternal aunt also had it and died from it.

  • Unknown
    edited December 2017

    hello ladies, i am a 46yo who has been told i have fibrosystic breasts, very painfull, this is not my main issue of comcern. My lwr spine and hips and now r shoulder socket. It started with my spine, ive been told i have spurs, then told degenerative disc disease. The pain in my r hip is so bad i cannot even get out of bed or walk, i was told it is arthritis, then it started on l side, at times i cannot even touch my thigh it feels very bruised to the touch, i cannot sleep at night and have a hard time even walking. I was told that the bone scan was negative for cancer, and was given meloxicam which i cannot take due to the migranes it gives me. I have recently been getting these cacoon shaped masses on my rib cage wich hurt like hell and make me feel like my ribs are fractured, yet everytime i try to speak to my pcp about these issues, he brushes me off and gave me an injection in r hip of cotizone, then proceeded to give me a muscle relaxer which i cannot take bc it makes my nerves twitch really bad. I then told him what the pain med did to me, he stated hes not comfortable perscribing me anything stronger, well,....if i were an addict i would hope not, however i am NOT. I have repeatidly asked for further investigation of the massive pain i am in(and getting worse) but i am being told its just minamal arthritis, i get a bad gut feeling whenever i think or talk about it that its much worse than said and bc of my gender and age i am being ignored, misdiagnosed and mistreated. I am to the point of just donating myself at some medical school just to get to the bottom of this and have someone listen to the words i am saying i cannot live much longer like this with the amount of pain and minimal answers as to why it is so bad. I know i have arthritis, but is it possible cancer too? How do i get straight answers? What types of tests should i be getting? Already had CT scan and bone scan, so they say,but that was over a year ago, im scared and its not going away, tried a whole list of home remedies and anti inflamatories, nothing is working.

  • chronicpain
    chronicpain Member Posts: 217
    edited December 2017

    AmcConnell, with such severe pain, if you are in the U.S., I would demand a rheumatology consult. When a primary doc gives you treatment that does not work and you tell him, further investigation by a specialist is needed if he is clueless what to do. Raise hell if he refuses

  • rsdavid
    rsdavid Member Posts: 2
    edited April 2018

    My family physician called today to tell me about my MRI report (ordered by a neurosurgeon). Since I have not yet seen the surgeon, she wanted to review the report with me.

    It seems as though there is a "spot" in the bone marrow of S3 (my tailbone). It is recommended that, if I have no other MRI with which to compare, I should have another MRI in 6 months.

    My family doc is forwarding the report to my oncologist so he can decide how important this is.

    My back pain has been on-going since before the cancer in 2012. In 2014, my oncologist ordered a bone scan which confirmed that it was not cancer, and sent me on my way to an orthopedic... who then sent me to pain management for shots to alleviate the pain. With shots no longer working, they sent me to a neurosurgeon who fought with my insurance to get an MRI done. The appointment with the neurosurgeon is in two weeks.

    My first impulse is to go running screaming in the street - yeah, not going to do that. The fear is pretty intense, though, even with just this little niggling of suspicion.

    After reviewing this forum, I don't find much about mets in the bone marrow. Is there anyone out there who can share information regarding the kinds of testing it takes to confirm/deny the presence of cancer in bone marrow? Does it matter if it is in the spine vs. a rib or hip?

    What I do find are a lot of incredibly brave people! Thanks to all of you willing to share your information.

    Sherrie

  • vampeyes
    vampeyes Member Posts: 523
    edited May 2018

    I have searched and searched the internet to find a difference between bone Mets and arthritis. Would a radiologist be able to tell if it's bone Mets from the CT? Is there any other explanation for foci found on the thoracic spine?

  • Falconer
    Falconer Member Posts: 801
    edited May 2018
    Vampeyes I have a hemangioma on my thoracic vertebra, found on MRI and confirmed by bone scan. Perhaps it's the same for you?
  • vampeyes
    vampeyes Member Posts: 523
    edited May 2018

    Falconer, I sure hope that is all it is, thank you for posting. Hopefully I get a call to book the bone scan today. I have myself convinced it's arthritis, or at least every time I think about it I tell myself that is all it is.