Bone density scan results

Hi, not sure if this is the correct place for this post. I’m currently on Tamoxifen, started in November, and I had a bone density scan in December. My oncologist just called this morning, and apparently the bone density in my hip/s is a little thin. They want to do blood tests to see if that throws any light on this.

I guess I’m wondering how much to worry about it. Have other women found they have less density, and has it caused any problems? I know its checked because of an increased osteoporosis risk. As I’ve always been slightly built and used to have a BMI under 18.5, could it just be that my bones aren’t as dense because the weight of me is less, and so they haven’t needed to be? I’ve put on weight since treatment so might my bone density now increase with just exercise? Thanks

Huh. Never heard of anyone needing blood tests after a dexa scan. If it’s thin, it’s thin and they usually decide you’re either osteopenia or have osteoporosis. But a blood test isn’t something that follows typically. Is it much thinner than everything else? Did they tell you what blood test they want to do?

Hi Kay, the oncologist didn’t say whether it was much thinner in comparison to anything. She did say they dont usually do scans of younger women (I’m 35). She wants the blood tests to look at my vitamin D levels.

@Cali, not sure which country you are in, but when done in the UK a DEXA scan typically checks density of your spine, hip and hip neck (& it’s usually just one side). You’re right in saying they don’t typically do bone density scans when you are young before you’ve hit the menopause (unless a consultant feels there is a clinical reason to do one such as cancer treatment or other symptoms, a family history of osteoporosis would also be considered). You can ask your consultant to clarify if you have osteopenia (the stage before osteoporosis) or if it’s not reached that stage if you want to understand more.

Regarding the blood test to check vitamin D, that would be normal to ensure your current levels are sufficient or if you need to take a supplement. Vitamin D and Calcium both contribute towards bone health/density and a lot of people don’t realise they aren’t getting sufficient vitamin D and need a supplement.

Weight bearing exercises definitely help with bone density. Everyone needs strong bones (to maintain mobility and reduce the risk of fractures), irrespective of their body weight so based on what you’ve said I expect your consultant is probably trying to understand if there is a simple reason as to why your bone density is low and thereby advice you of appropriate changes to make.


Ah. Then that makes sense. You need to have proper vitamin D3 levels in order for calcium to be able to be used appropriately for bone health. Chances are though that you’re slight just naturally. I am also and was warned that I was at risk no matter what just because I’m small. But yes, weight baring exercises can help along with the weight gain. If they get too worried there are always zolodrenic acid infusions. I’m doing that. No idea if it has helped yet but the side effects are pretty much nil at this point so I’m glad I’m trying with it at least. And of course if she finds your vitamin D low, there are always supplements there.

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Hi I was diagnosed with osteopenia after taking letrozole. They put me on alendronic acid and five years down the line my osteopenia has gone from being in every bone to being only in the left side of my neck, so well worth taking. Wishing you the best.

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