Bone scan

Bone scan

Bone scan Dear All

Does anyone know how reliable bone scans are and if health professionals can get results wrong. The reason i am asking this is because i have got an extremely painful back that wakes me several times during the night, even standing up to cook a meal is very uncomfortable lately. I had a bone scan at the beginning of May which came back clear. I have been taking Arimidex for a year now however my back pain feels different to the rest of my joint pains.

kind regards

Annie x

hi annie you can ask the specialist to have another look st the scans ! i had bad pain but it always been cancer so i wouldnt know if any has not been detected or not good look , hope everything goes ok

my bone scan didn’t show the bony secondaries Annie - my bone scan in may 06 was clear even though I couldn’t put weight on my left leg or lift it at all. The xray was also clear but it worsened over the summer and 3 months later on the next bone scan it showed I had a big secondary in my hip and 1 in my thoracic vertebrae!! I had a ct scan at the same time and that showed clearly the bony spread.
I was told that sometimes this happens that the bone scans and xrays can be clear but a secondary could be there.
I would go back and ask again for either an xray or MRI to see what is happening.
Good luck and hope an innocent cause can be found for your pain.

Bone scans are usually quite accurate at picking up metastatic disease. They are more sensitive than an xray. This means that a secondary bone lesion will show up on a bone scan a long time before it will show up on an xray. As Kate has said, sometimes very early metastatic disease cannot be detected for the following reasons. Bone scan show differences is osteoblastic and osteoclastic activities. This means that a bone scan shows chemical differences in the bones that are undergoing a disease process. Any disease process which alters the metabolic function of the cells can be detected. This can be a bone secondary or arthritis or a fracture etc. Now bones are constantly remodeling themselves and repairing all day long, and every day. The osteoblastic cells are the cells that repair and build up the bones. The osteoclasts are the cells which break up your bone and destroy it. In order for a bone lesion to appear and be detected on a scan, the osteoclasts have to be destroying the bone faster than the osteblasts are repairing it. This shows up on a bone scan as a hot spot because there is increased activity at this area. Now some lesions can be completely made up of osteoclasts and there is no repair going on. These lesions appear cold on the scan as there is no repair or remodeling going on. Depending on what type of cells make up your particular bone secondary, it sometimes take a bit of time for enough changes to occur so that these changes can be detected on the bone scan,
Having said that, people on arimidex get alot of bone pain and if you are worried about your pain being cancer related, i would ask your onc for a follow up bone scan at your next appt. This will put your mind at rest.
Hope my explanation helped
wishing you the best

Thank you all for your comments

take care


I would ask for an MRI and for the bonescan to be reviewed - hope you have had some news by now?..