Can a DEXA Scan Detect Cancer

Can a DEXA Scan Detect Cancer?

What is a DEXA scan?

Short for dual-energy X-ray absorption, DEXA scans are a quick and painless way to measure bone mineral density. This bone scan can help us determine your likelihood for bone fractures and osteoporosis, and see if cancer has spread to your bones.

DEXA scans are used to measure bone mineral density. This information can help us determine your likelihood for bone fractures and osteoporosis, and see if cancer has spread to your bones. 

What causes cancer-related bone loss?

Specific causes of cancer-related bone loss include:

  • Some chemotherapy drugs
  • Radiation therapy to the pelvic area (particularly in women age 65+)
  • Hormone therapy suppressing testosterone in prostate cancer patients
  • Steroid treatments
  • Spread of cancer to the bone

Bone density testing can monitor your bone health and recommend treatment options that will maintain your bone health and work to reduce your risk of bone density loss.

How long will a DEXA scan take?

During the scan, a small dose of radioactive material will be injected into your bloodstream after which you will lie on a table for 15 to 20 minutes while your entire skeleton or specific points on your body are scanned. The radioactive material then collects on the bones and helps us see cell activity and bone function when we scan your body.

After the scan, you’ll be given results based on two different scores: your T-score and your Z-score.

A T-score is the difference between your bone density and that of an average healthy person. This score helps us determine your risk of breaking a bone. A Z-score is the amount of bone you have compared to people of the same age, race and gender as you. If your Z-score is too high or too low, you may need more testing.

After your DEXA scan, your doctor will talk to you about your scores and what they mean for your ongoing treatment.

How to prepare for a DEXA scan

A bone scan requires no special preparation. You don’t need to restrict your diet or avoid particular activities in preparation for a bone scan. However, it is important to tell your doctor if you are or may be pregnant or breastfeeding. Since bone scans are X-rays that use radiation, this may present harm to your pregnancy.

To book a scan, visit us at Medmo.com. Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.

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