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Rib Fractures = metastases?


Hi there, I am 3.5 years post diagnosis. Stage 3A, HER2/ER positive. After experiencing back and rib pain, I had a bone scan done. Results came back clear, however did pick up 2 rib fractures. As a next step, oncologist is recommending an xray. I can’t get a hold of her, are they doing the X-ray as the next step to rule out cancer? Is it possible the X-ray will pick up metastases in the ribs that the bone scan missed? I’m so confused as to why an X-ray is needed and am spiraling.

Thank you


  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,185

    Hi @sjh15,

    We're so sorry for the worries that bring you back here. We hope you'll get some answers from others soon, and that your doctor can share some insight with you.

    Our page on Bone Metastasis does mention that x-rays can help doctors diagnose bone metastasis. However, our page on Bone Scans says that the bone scan would have picked up any metastasis, if it was there. Is it possible that the x-ray was ordered to see if there were other breaks in the ribs that the bone scan did not pick up?

    Please keep us posted with what you hear. We're thinking of you!

    —The Mods

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 999

    Hi @sjh15 , Radiation and osteoporosis can also cause rib fractures and are more frequently the cause than mets. A radiologist will be able to look at the characteristics of the fractures on an x-ray to help determine the cause. Rib fractures can be painful whatever their origin. The clear bone scan is a favorable sign; I hope further news continues to be good.