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Possible Mets ?

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Sunris View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 09 2009 at 3:09pm
From the start ( I'm 6 weeks in already - Taxol 1x weekly) ...on my bone scan it showed 2 spots on my ribs, 1 on 6th left rib posterior and 1 on 5th right rib posterior? ..... The doctor says because it can't be biopsied and they can't say for sure whether or not is is MET, then they are calling it cancer anyhow.. So umm , why can't they just call it..."we're not sure due to not being able to biopsy" but it is a concern and we want to keep a watch on it??? .... What are the other common things that could possibly make these spots show on my ribs on a bone scan ? If it is METS, is the chemo I'm taking already working on it ?

Edited by Sunris - May 09 2009 at 3:31pm
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Beth Anne View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Beth Anne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2009 at 3:28pm
Sunris,
Sorry that you are going through this.... On question I would have for you have they done a PET/CT scan.  I would think that if it is cancer it should light up on the PET/CT scan and that should tell them if it is cancer or not....
If you haven't already had this scan you might ask for it....

Take care,
Beth Anne
Dx 5/07 DCIS Stage3 gr9 A/C x 6, Abrax x 16 Bi-Mass 2/08
Navelbine x 12, finished radiation end of July 08. DX Brain Met's 2/09StageIV
CK3/09.Brain resection4/09 WBR
Dreaming of dancing with Ned!
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Sunris View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sunris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2009 at 3:32pm
Beth Anne,

I have not had any PET scans... only CT's of brain, chest, abdomen, and pelvis, as well as bone scan...
I just don't like not knowing whether or not it is METS or just some random scar tissue or something showing on the bone scan...ya know ??
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Beth Anne View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Beth Anne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2009 at 3:39pm
Sunris,
Ask for a PET scan. the cancer lights up if bright colors on that scan. Your in Huston there should not be a problem getting that scan... If there is find a new doctor........


Good luck and Hugs,
Beth Anne
Dx 5/07 DCIS Stage3 gr9 A/C x 6, Abrax x 16 Bi-Mass 2/08
Navelbine x 12, finished radiation end of July 08. DX Brain Met's 2/09StageIV
CK3/09.Brain resection4/09 WBR
Dreaming of dancing with Ned!
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trip2 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2009 at 4:42pm
Beth Anne is right, you deserve an answer the best they can come up with, if this doc won't help get a second opinion and a scan so that you will have peace of mine
 
Good luck to you,
Stage 2 2003
Stage 1 2007
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TracyBendele Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2009 at 12:34am
I am writing to make sure you DON'T count on a PET-scan settling this issue. I got a PET-scan and it showed lit up spots on two of my ribs. Pet-scans show lit up areas wherever there is increased metabolic activity. This includes mild fractures that are in the process of healing. My Doctor scheduled a bone scan next 'to see if the spots were cancer or fracture'. The bone scan report said it could be either. This of course drove me nuts, I'd been told this would solve it, and now I felt like I wasted my money. When I complained to my Doctor, he said the point of it was that when I got a bone scan in the future, if the spots were worse or better would show if it was cancer, or something healing. In any case, my ribs had hurt then, and have stopped hurting over time. And an X-ray report said it looked like healing fracture. Not uncommon to get fractures during chemo. Simply coughing hard can crack a rib. A friend of mine went through quite a scare when a Pet-scan showed her spine lit up. A biopsy showed it to be only a viral infection which was then easilly cured. My point is that while PET-scans can be a great tool, they can also lead to unnecessary anxiety since lit areas are NOT always cancer.
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Sunris View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sunris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2009 at 3:03pm
I have a follow up bone scan scheduled for June 1.....I'm guessing they will compare that one to the previous one done on March 26th . If it is METS, is the chemo I'm already taking also working on it ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2009 at 3:25pm
Hello TracyBendele and welcome.Smile
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SagePatientAdvocates View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SagePatientAdvocates Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2009 at 6:51pm
Dear Sunris,

I am not a medical professional but can you please ask your physician if you are getting the following-

"For certain conditions your doctor might also order additional images called single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT). This can help analyze conditions that are especially deep in your bone or in places that are difficult to see with static or two-dimensional (planar) images. The additional SPECT images take approximately 30 minutes."

This paragraph comes from a link from The Mayo Clinic on bone scans..

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bone-scan/MY00306/DSECTION=what%2Dyou%2Dcan%2Dexpect

If you can't pull this link up..please go on Google and enter bone scan and the Mayo link will come up..

In any event, if you are not being seen at M.D. Anderson I would definitely get a second opinion there..

I think first things first about your chemotherapy. If you do have mets (and I pray you don't) I think you need to find out if the chemo you are on should help you or does the protocol need to be changed? and sometimes it can't be easily changed..you may have to finsih the course you are on..again all questions for your oncologist and I would encourage you to get a second opinion.

Also I would ask if you qualify for a "tumor board" if the spots are dx as cancer.

My prayers and positive vibrations are with you..please let us know how everything goes and I sincerely wish you good luck and continued strength as you deal with this.

all the best,

Steve


I am a BRCA1+ grandson, son and father of women affected by breast/oc-my daughter inherited mutation from me, and at 36, was dx 2004 TNBC I am a volunteer patient advocate with SAGE Patient Advocates
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TracyBendele Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2009 at 7:22pm
Hi Sunris- If the chemo you are on is being effective, then it will be affecting your bones as well. This however will probably keep scans from revealing the answer of what's going on since if it is cancer in the bone it won't be growing while you are on chemo. Best to concentrate on keeping yourself healthy during this chemo so you can stay on course to have it work as well as possible. Do what feels right to make it through this part. One thing at a time. You are doing something positive to kill the cancer right now. When this treatment is over you will find out where you stand, and then make your best choice of what is next. Hang in there girl.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nancy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2009 at 5:35am
Nancy
DD Lori dx TNBC June 13,2007
Lumpectomy due to incorrect dx of a cyst
mastectomy July 6 2007
chemo ACT all 3 every 3 weeks 6 tx Aug-Nov
28 rads ended Jan 2008
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Sunris View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sunris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2009 at 2:35pm
Steve,

I am already being treated at M.D. Anderson ( love that place) . Here is what the Dr. said.....( this was re: my first bone scan when I began going to M.D.Anderson.....

"Your scan is showing a couple of spots on your ribs, have you been in any car accidents lately? Fallen? etc..
Because it is in a non-biopsy(able) area, then they are calling it cancer because they can't say definitively that it is NOT . She said we will just keep watch on
it."

My question is this.... If the chemo I'm on for BC is
also effective for bone (ribs) then it isn't likely that the next scan ( June 1) will show any variation from the
first scan? Therefore, how in the heck , and WHEN am I ever supposed to know ? I've been having this nagging achy type feeling in my back across the middle and have also noticed that when it's bothering me, I also feel some discomfort when I take a deep breath. This feeling is more like a deep within feeling, not like a typical back ache type feeling.... If that makes any sense at all. I mean, at this point does it matter ? Since I'm already on chemo for the BC ?

Thanks for the link...I will check it out.

You guys on this site are awesome!!
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Sunris View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sunris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2009 at 2:36pm
Nancy,

Thanks for converting the link! You rule!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmwolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2009 at 3:17pm
Hey, Sunris.  Isn't it frustrating not to know what is going on?  I can definitely relate.   One thing to know is that chemo can make bones ache, especially taxol, as can neulasta/neupogen.   So bone pain during chemo does NOT mean bone mets.    Has your  doctor put you on a bisphosphonate?  If s/he really believes the spots are mets, it might be a good idea to add that to your treatment.  I'd ask about that if I were you. 

This probably won't help, but something we in the cancer crowd get used to after a while is uncertainty.  It is the common thread that ties all cancer journeys together.  Even when we get more and more information, positive or negative, none of us really know what the future holds for us.  (which is of course true in general, just exaggerated with cancer).  Avenues can be closed off with time, or made more or less likely, but the fundamental mystery remains.

Love,
Denise
DX 2/08@43 stg II IDC; gr2,0 nodes. Neoadj chemo, first ACx2 (fail) then CarboTaxotereX6(better). Lump, Rads done 11/08; Clodronate. False alarm queen: PetCT lung & TM marker. NED. PBM w/recon 9/10.
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Sunris View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sunris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2009 at 3:23pm
Denise,

Thanks so much for the informative info. I see the Dr. tomorrow and will ask more questions regarding this. I also have another bone scan June 1, I guess my fear is that nothing has changed from the previous scan perhaps due to the fact I'm already on chemo? , yet bone mets is actually present....aahhhh....the unknown!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vicky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2009 at 6:22pm
Hi Sunris,

Welcome and hope you're going to get a clear answer to this soon. I am also at MDA here in Houston. My understanding is that the Taxol is killing all fast growing cells in your body (not just the cancer cells in your breast). Therefore, it should be killing other cancer cells if they exist. Unless the cells have an estrogen receptor, the Taxol has a good chance of knocking them out. Double check that but that is my understanding. I am on my 7th Taxol (8th this week) and asked that specific question when I started.

If you'd like to chat, send me a private message and we can compare notes on MDA. I feel very confident that they are doing everything they can for me there.

Best,
Vicky
DX 3/09. IDC. Stage 2. 7 Tumors in R Breast - Largest 2.9cm. 9 Taxols & 6 rounds of FEC. Mastectomy 10/09. No Lymph node involvement. No rads. Prophylatic mastectomy L breast Jan '10. BRAC -
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