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Not sure what kind of scan I should have for possible bone mets


Hi all,

I started having pain in my groin/hip area the end of March, not sure if it was caused from exercising. Anyway, it hurts when I walk in hip/groin area. Wearing a ace band as a brace, and I also take pain meds for truncal lymphedema that also helps with the pain. The pain causes my gait to be off & I walk with a limp, but it actually gets better the longer I walk [… I walk about 30+ mins. after work] It does not hurt when at rest, so far.

I'm a 17+ years breast cancer survivor and I'm hoping that it has not spread to my bones. I have not been diagnosed yet. Before I talk with my doctor I wanted to know what type of scan is best to get for a diagnosis of mets to the bone. Would it be better to have a "bone scan" or a "CT scan?"

Any information will be greatly appreciated.

~ Dee🧡


  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,861


    So sorry that you find yourself worrying about bc again. A PET scan is what visualized my bone met and I have always had PET scans in my follow up care. Last year however, I had a CT and a nuclear bone scan,I have been NEAD for a bit over 12 years so I guess my monitoring is a bit less intense in the absence of any symptoms.

    I don’t know if one type of test is best in all suspected cases of bone mets. I’m willing to bet that different MO’s have different opinions about it. Take care

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 953
    edited May 12

    Hi jazzid, I’m currently in a similar situation but further along in the process. I developed pain in my pelvis that varied and got worse at night. My MO’s NP had me start with ortho at my local hospital. An MRI showed severe tendinitis and degenerative changes but something in my acetabulum (hip socket) lit up so I was referred back to the cancer center on the off chance it might be a met. The bone tumor radiologists were able to measure a 2.5 cm lesion and ordered another MRI on their better machines. They have concluded it is a bone met or a benign tumor that mimics one (ill-defined lytic.) An ortho onc advised against biopsy since it could fracture the hip so I am having a FES PET/CT using a newer contrast that picks up estrogen receptors. If the scan shows nothing the lesion will be monitored by MRI since there’s no guarantee it would still be ER+ if it were cancer.

    According to my MO bone scans don’t differentiate between conditions (arthritis, fractures and mets look the same) and require follow up imaging such as a CT or MRI. An FDG PET/CT scans the whole body but inflammation and infection look the same as cancer so often more imaging and then a biopsy is needed. This all went very differently from what I expected. An x-ray followed by the MRI in orthopedics turned out to be a good place to start. At this point I would have had a biopsy if the bone lesion were elsewhere.

  • AJ
    AJ Member Posts: 215

    When I was first diagnosed I had a nuclear bone scan. The arthritic areas showed up but we knew that that was there already. There were no bone mets. My last CT scan showed a lesion on L4.