bone density scan

Hi all I am having one of these scans next week is this normal when taking Arimidex and how often is it done and why ?

Thanks all
Jackie XXX

Hi Sprat

I’ve been having them every 2 years, starting when I was on Arimidex

Initially I only got one because I’d had a £30 heel density scan at the local gym one day (travelling scanner, private comapny) purely out of idle curiosity, which showed that I might be starting to develop problems. Showed the printout to my GP, who said he’d never hear of a heel scan (on the ball, that one), but agreed that a full bone density scan might be necessary, as I was at high risk. I had to wait a year(!) for it, but it gave exactly the same result as the heel scan had done (I had upped my calcium intake and weight-bearing exercise in the meantime).

Since then, I’ve had been taking osteopororis meds, currently Bonviva and Calcium + Vit D and having scans every two years. The meds seem to be doing the trick, as there has been no further deterioration; a gain in real terms as our bones thin as we get older, of course.

So I imagine a bone density scan may have been organised for you because they think your bones may be thinning a bit prematurely…?



Hi sprat

You can read more about your treatment, Arimidex, in the BCC factsheet, it explains its actions and why bone density scans may be required, I have also included a link to our ‘Osteoporosis and breast cancer’ information which you may also find useful to read:

If you wish to talk any concerns through with one of our helpliners please feel free to call on 0808 800 6000, weekdays 9-5 and Sat 9-2. For your information the Christmas opening hours for the helpline are:

Christmas Eve: 9am - 2pm
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: Closed
December 27th: Open as usual (9am,-2pm)
New Years Eve: 9am -2pm
New Year’s Day: Closed

Best wishes

I have never been referred for a bone density scan, despite having been on arimidex for over 4 years. At our local hospital, however, they offer scans for £40 so I booked myself onto one because of the arimidex and reading that it can sometimes cause thinning of the bones. It came out as normal and I was advised to go back for another in two years. I did it to put my mind at rest as that’s now one less thing to worry about, but if there had been any problems at least they could have been picked up early. It was a very simple, painless procedure.




I had one of these scans as I was being changed from tamoxifen to Arimidex to see if the side effects from tamoxifen lessened and I’d had chemo first which had put me into early menopause and this thins the bones. I also have small bone mets in one vertebrae and a bit on my ribs. They thought I probably didn’t have any signs of osteoporosis as I’m 44 but lo & behold I have got it, albeit mildly, most likely brought on by the chemo-induced menopause (even though blood tests show me to be peri-menopausal). I’m just at the wrong age !

Anyway, I’d been started on Zometa, a bone strengthener, and calcium tablets a few weeks beforehand and after 3 lots and a blood test, everything seems stable and bloods normal so we are continuing on this route. I will apparently get bone density scans annually and that to me is reassuring. Last time there was a power cut half way through so they had to start again but it still only took 20 minutes.

All I need to do now is exercise…


I had a bone density scan last January as a baseline assessment because I had started Arimidex. In this area, it is a standard test for people on Arimidex. Much to my oncologist’s surprise (let alone mine) the scan showed I already had osteopaenia, which means that my bones are not as dense as they should be, but I haven’t yet got osteporosis. The main problem is in my spine. I started on alendronic acid once a week and take Adcal D3 (calcium and vit D) twice a day and will now have regular scans, I think annually. This can’t have been caused by the Arimidex as I hadn’t been taking it for long, but it may make it worse. I am pleased that it was identified early so that I can take the right medication and I also try to do lots of weight bearing exercise.
The scan itself is fine.
Good luck

I had a bone density scan (called a DEXA scan) as a baseline before I started Arimidex. This is the norm at my hospital. Unfortunately it showed I have severe osteoporosis in the spine and hips! I had no idea, although being of a slight build and 10 years post menopause, I suppose it was on the cards!

I am now on Alendronic Acid tablets, once weekly and calcium.


Thank you all for your advice it has been a great help
My appt is next Tuesday and I feel less apprehensive now

Thankyou again

Jackie xxx

Switched from Tamoxifen to Arimidex and had a bone desity scan as baseline test. I was the low end of normal. Do not know how ofter they will check.

Hi Alice

Looks like it could be every 2 years,I will ask on Tuesday


Hi all well the scan was fine and everything is ok,at last something going well !!

They said I should be checked Two yearly,

Thank you all

Useful info. thanks Jackie don’t know why I did not ask, oh I remember I cancelled my last appointment with the onc. thought it pointless.