Can bone density scan detect bone mets?

Hi Ladies,

This may be a daft question, but this is the place you can ask them so here goes.

Dx jan 08, Grade 3, stage 1, negative nodes, hormone plus, her2 neg.
Radio then on tamox for 2 years, Onc about to switch me to Aromasin (am 54).

Is sending me for bone density scan next week. I know this is not the same as the bone scan used to look for mets but still geting very anxious. If the scan shows my bone density is lower than it should be, could that mean i could have bone mets? I’m thinking that a tumour on the bone could cause the bone to lose density?

Just dont cope at all these days with any kinds of scans or tests and waiting for results and my hospital seems to take ages. As always I’d be grateful for any comments/advice.

Best Wishes

Hi Linda

As far as i know a bone density does not show mets, just thinning of bones. Also, when i had mine, they looked at the screen as i was being scanned and told me the results there and then. So hopefully you wont have that awful waiting period for results.

Good luck

Hi Lolly,

Many thanks for your reply. My appointment letter said the scan results would be sent to the doctor who asked for the scan and it takes about 2 weeks. I sometimes think the anxiety of waiting for results will finish me off long before anything else does!

Still, i suppose if any scan/test indicates a possible serious problem it would be flagged up pretty quickly so perhaps i should not worry if i don’t hear for a while. However I will see if they will tell me on the day, so thank you for the suggestion.



When I had my bone density scan they only scanned two areas - it’s not the whole body - they do a hip and a leg (IIRC - chemo brain). I was also told by the practitioner that the results were fine - although they do an official report as well. I doubt that any mets would show up - the usual bone scan for mets is a nuclear medicine scan, which would then be followed by X Ray. Hope that reassures you.

They did scan my whole body at the dexa scan

Hi Both,

i guess it varies a bit from one hospital to another - the appointment letter from my hospital says they usually scan the hips and lower spine.

Thanks again for the replies and reassurance.



i just had my leg scanned for my bone density scan… its showed slightly reduced levels of calcium and vitamin D but no major deterioration… doesnt show up mets though.

i was advised to calcium and vit d supplements and drink at least a glass of milk a day or equivalent.