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Question about Nuclear Whole Body Bone Scan

I had a nuclear whole body bone scan this week and I had taken a disk and report with me from my previous scan which was done at another hospital in 2018. I was told they loaded that information on their computer.

When I got the report, it said "comparison: None."

I am wondering if those scans are like Dexa Scans which aren't compared to scans done at a different facility because each machine is different? That said, what is the "life" of one of those machines? My Dexa Scan was compared to one I had at the same hospital in 2011 but not the one I had in 2019, also from the other hospital.

Comments

  • cookie54
    cookie54 Member Posts: 613

    @mavericksmom Nuc Med Bone Scans are definitely comparable and it doesn't matter what machine it was performed on. Some of the issues that do arise with outside facility disc's are they are burned in a different way that is not user friendly on other equipment. So it's possible that they were not able to open the disc and upload images. Another issue is maybe the tech didn't convey to the radiologist that there were outside images for comparison.

    If you would like them to be compared call the imaging facility and discuss with them. This is actually a common issue and they can try to track back through the tech as to what happened. I feel like if they had an issue they should have told you that day. Anyhow if they uploaded the cd without incident the radiologist can do an addendum to your report.

    Good luck hope this helped.

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,045

    Thank you so much, cookie54! I appreciate your input and will call and see if it can be compared. I know the results were good, but I still wish they had compared to the old. It never entered my mind that they might not have been able to upload the files, let alone that they possibly never mentioned it to the radiologist!

  • inneedofhope
    inneedofhope Member Posts: 31

    Im sorry I cant help with your query, but ive just been referred for the same type of scan and was wondering what to expect? Is it similar to a CT?

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,045

    inneedofhope, If you have a port or you have good veins, you will be fine. The scan is different than a CT or MRI. You will get an injection of radioactive tracer, don't worry, sounds worse than it is, just a fancy dye with a tiny amount of radio active substance that is picked up on the scanner. Then you wait 3 hours. When you go back you will be on your back on a table and a scanner moves slowly over you. I don't know if it was because I had hip pain or it is always done but that part of the scan was first and it was easy. They put a wrap around me to keep my arms in place.

    Then they did three more scans but I had to put my arms over my head, with no wrap for support, which wouldn't normally be an issue but it was for me because I have total reverse shoulder replacements in both of my shoulders so that position is hard and painful for me.

    I also have bad veins and for whatever reason the hospital I went to puts an IV in prior to the tracer. I had to have an US machine to see where my veins were. I don't know what they did it that way, but afterwards when I took off the bandage they put on I was left with a huge black and blue mark that looks like ink. It is bigger than my cell phone! Again, definitely NOT the norm, but due to my very poor veins from having breast cancer three times spanning 20 years and stage two lymphedema in my left arm so all blood work etc must be done on my right arm, It always makes me mad that my veins are so hard to get and then once the blood is taken or in this case, injection is done, it apparently continues to bleed a lot. Ugh.

    This was my second bone scan. I had one in 2018 and don't remember any issues with it. That time it was injected directly into my hand and left only a tiny black and blue area. I don't remember the scan being as long or any difficulty holding my position.

    For most people I think bone scans are one of the easier scans.

  • inneedofhope
    inneedofhope Member Posts: 31

    @mavericksmom thank you for sharing your experience. I feel particularly nervous about this scan, and no port and poor veins as still doing IV chemo 😬

    I hope your scan results were positive for you?

    Are these scans very accurate or will they have false positives / refer for different types of imagining. I always feel my ct scans find something for surveillance...it feels never ending.

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,045
    edited August 2023

    Yes, my scan was negative for metastasis. I was annoyed though because I had brought a disk from my previous scan, which stated more than this report did. I was told it was downloaded along with that report, into the computer, but my report said "comparison: none." Someone said he might not have known it was there or maybe it wasn't really able to be down loaded. I was going to call radiology to ask about it, but I don't especially like dealing with the hospital I went to, so I decided not to say anything. I will message my MO and let him know, but nothing would change in my report so I will let well enough alone.

    I think CTs are better for screening, but I am no expert by any means. I assume the bone scans are accurate, not sure how they could give false positives other than seeing something that is could be cancer but not being certain. There is a margin of error in all things in medicine, but I wouldn't worry about the scan not being accurate. I think it is.

    I also think it is never ending for breast cancer. I was lucky, I felt free of cancer and rarely thought about it other than yearly mammograms after about 4-5 years post my first Dx. I had 10 and a half great glorious years before I was blindsided by my diagnosed again in Dec 2018. That is when I was diagnosed with ILC and had a left mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction. Less than four years later, I was diagnosed with IDC and DCIS in my right breast, so last fall I had another mastectomy.

    I am more than ready to ditch all my doctors related to breast cancer and move on with my life. I don't think one can really move on while having follow ups more than once a year, at least I can't. I am reluctantly continuing to see my breast surgeon for follow ups, but he will be the first I stop seeing. I get it that there is always a chance of recurrence, even with both breasts removed, but sometimes I just have to take my chances. I will see him in Jan, but not sure if I will go back for any more visits unless he will agree to see me yearly vs every 6 months. I will continue to see my MO, who I like very much, because I am on Letrozole and he doesn't make me feel as if breast cancer is going to come back. I am on the Letrozole more for my 2018 diagnosis than my 2022 Dx. Some doctors are just a better fit with us than others.

  • inneedofhope
    inneedofhope Member Posts: 31

    Wow, that is a lot to go through! But im so pleased your scans were positive.

    I often think ive developed PTSD following my diagnosis, treatment the endless scans and the findings, I'm currently in a clinical trial looking at Enhertu for residual disease in those who are high risk for recurrence. I have 11 treatments to go which seems very daunting! But I also wonder how I will be able to move forward on the other side.

    I really wish you all the best as you try to navigate this!

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,045

    I am definitely glad I had the Nuclear Bone Scan, and if recommended, I would have it again. I beieve you about the PTSD. I have it too, but unfortunately my "care" team doesn't care about my mental health. I was told the last time something triggered it, that the "trigger" just hit a raw nerve. The advice, "join a breast cancer group!"

    I don't think many professionals for breast cancer are really concerned about the mental health of their patients. They say they are because mental health is the new "politically correct" thing to say. Telling someone to "join a breast cancer group" as my team told me, is not mental help!

    When are you scheduled for your scan?

  • inneedofhope
    inneedofhope Member Posts: 31

    Scheduled for next Thursday. I've had chemo this week so been given some days to recover first.

    My last ct showed a slight thickening in my ribs and radiologist has recommend yet another scan (ive had 4 cts in 9 months). Apparently its been there on my rib since diagnosis 9 months ago with no significant change... not really sure why its been picked up now. The 3 radiologists on previous scans never mentioned it.

    Im so sorry your also experiencing PTSD. It really is such a difficult thing to go through. When I tell people sometimes I feel like I get an eyeroll for being dramatic. When i mention the stress and axiety im suffering to my onc, I always get sad nods, a leaflet, or told to speak to a charity about counselling. I just want some understanding from them of what the impact is my emotional wellbeing. I agree there is a total lack of concern! I have a 3 and 1 year old and honestly keeping it all together is very difficult at times.

    I really hope you are able to get the support you and all of us deserve!!

    Thanks for taking the time to reply and share, it means a lot.

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,045

    inneedofhope, you will always find hope with me and on BCO boards. It is unconscionable that all your doctor did is hand you a brochure! You needed a referral for someone to talk to! That is one thing the cancer hospital I went to in 2018 got right, they provided social workers to their patients. I didn't have much hope a social worker could help, as I wanted to see a psychiatrist, but let me tell you, my social worker became part of my life and she stood by me the entire time. Sadly, she moved to a bigger city hospital. I hope they know how lucky they are to have her work for them! Feel free to PM me ANYTIME! Also look for support from the stage IV members here, they can help and give better advice than I can.

  • threetree
    threetree Member Posts: 1,156

    I so agree with both of your comments about how all of this causes PTSD and how "casually" most of these medical people look at it. I've experienced very similar things to what the two of you have described; the "join a group", the eye roll responses, etc. The damage that just going through the treatments (never mind the cancer itself), is devastating mentally and not fully appreciated by most.

  • inneedofhope
    inneedofhope Member Posts: 31

    Thank you both for your comments and understanding. I'm so sorry you have experienced the same. I really do try to put my big girl pants on and get through it, but it can be so hard, and when I have a wobble I feel so dismissed.

    I've been told ive been referred to a psychologist after much begging... but there is a 2 month wait.

    @marvericksmom A social worker would be wonderful, I'm so pleased you were offered this support.

    Anyway thank you both for your kind comments, its really meant a lot. Just got to get through the next few weeks of more uncertainty 🙏

    If you ever need a rant feel free to message me anytime.