Bone problems

I was dx with breast cancer 9 yrs ago, had WLE, Chemo., ( FEC ), Rads, and 5 years of Tamoxifen.
I have suffered with painful knees for about 3 years ( my job probably doesn’t help I’m a nursery nurse working with 0 - 2’s ).
Also last year I fell and sustained a fracture of the 9th rib on left side ( side effected by BC )…this took quite a few months to heal properly.
About 8 weeks ago I fell from a chair, I again sustained fracturesd ribs but this time 2, one being the 9th again!!.. three weeks after the original injury I bent to put a dish in cupboard and felt and h eard rib crak, but no pain, then five weeks after the original injury I went to sit down and they cracked again…this time had severe pain again.
Saw a GP 2 weeks ago (not my usual one ), she straight away wanted another X-ray as noticed my BC history on file and said as long as next X-ray showed clean break it would be ok otherwise she would be referring for bone scan, X-ray aptly., was ‘normal’.
When I saw my usual GP this week, I mentioned to him that the triage nurse I spoke to expressed concern regarding possible Osteoporosis /Osteopenia…he said…‘’ its ok nothing like that or cancer sec’s showed up on x-ray ‘’…
Could someone tell me if a normal x-ray would even show up these things?.

Hi Karen. Sorry to hear you’ve been having problems with your ribs. I was also dx 9 years ago, age 26. I had a mastectomy, chemo, rads and Zoladex. I’ve recently been having pains in my shoulder and skull. I still keep in touch with my BC nurse (I had another mastectomy and bi-lateral recon last year). She referred me for a bone scan. I’m not an expert but I was told that a bone scan is more sensitive at picking up ‘areas of concern’ Than a standard X-ray. The good news was that my scan showed everything was fine. Although I do have some damage to my ribs and also fibrosis of my lungs as a result of the rads I had. Apparently these ‘late effects’ are the exception rather than the rule. I would say, if you have concerns ask for the tests you need to give you reassurance. It certainly put my mind at rest. :slight_smile:

Hi Karen,

Normal bone does not crack on activities such as bending and sitting. Even a fall should not fracture your ribs, unless you sustain a reasonably severe direct impact. If I were you I should be pushing for a scan.

To my mind it is likely that you either have osteopenic/osteoporotic bone due to radiation damage, or possibly bony mets. A bone scan is more sensitive than an xray at showing this type of damage.

Your knee problems may be a whole different issue …eg osteoarthritis???

Thank you both for your replies.
I have made an appointment with a different GP ( one that the triage nurse reccommended as being ’ very thorough’ ) but as she only works 2 days a week next appointment isn’t until 6th June.
I am so fed up of my normal GP, who I have been seeing for over 20 years, I feel he is maybe becoming a little too complacent from knowing me so long…it did take him 18mths to refer me when I presented with lump…even though he knew my Aunt had been dx with BC when she was 50!!..I also know that he will think its just me being paranoid, as she was dx with bone secs., 15 yrs after original dx.
I intend to push for a bone scan, as on reading up, I discovered that a normal x-ray doesn’t neccessariy show Osteoparosis etc., until there is a 30% reduction!!
I returned to work yesterday…again…after 3 weeks and am today suffering with niggling pains…I realise it probably is due though to just returning to a activity I haven’t done for some weeks too.