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Tuesday, November 11, 2008 AZ, Community Member, asks

Q: PET scan & Bone density test


I can't decide if I should have a PET scan and/or bone density test done.

My oncologist didn't feel it was necessary, but if I wanted them he wouldn't have a problem writing me an order. I know they both have low radiation and are very expensive. I've met most of my deductibles, so cost is not an issue right now.  I was thinking maybe these tests would assure me that nothing else is going on inside my body.

Also, two weeks after my mastectomy I will be starting Tamoxifen. 

Is one of the side effects of Tamoxifen for premenapause - osteoporosis?  


Thanks in advance.

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Answers (1)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/11/08 10:49pm

Hi - First, tamoxifen won't promote osteoporosis - that's a side effect of aromatase inhibitors, which is what many post-menopausal women take in place of tamoxifen. There's no reason for you to worry about bone density if you're premenopausal, so I wouldn't think you need a bone density test. And I think your oncologist is exactly right about the PET scan; it's not necessary, but if it'll make you feel better, go for it. I know it's very stressful as you're going through treatment, wondering if the cancer is "all gone." Truthfully, no test will tell you for sure; it's just one of those things you have to take on faith. Or keep testing for, and worrying about. Time heals; as the months go by, I'm sure your stress level will drop. Good luck - PJH

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By AZ, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/24/10, First Published: 11/11/08