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Should Bone Scans Include The Lower Arms, Legs, Hands & Feet Of Multiple Myeloma Patients?

Posted on July 06 2010 by Pat Killingsworth | 1,049 views

I recieved this e-mail about myeloma related body scans from multiple myeloma patient Nancy Stewart last week:

  I just realized recently that when they do the full body x-ray on me that they only do the long bones. They don’t x-ray the forearms, hands, lower legs or feet. So, there could have been some lesions in your foot, but you wouldn’t know about it if your x-ray protocol is the same as mine.

When I e-mailed Nancy back to check if it was alright for me to quote her here, she added this to the discussion:

I look up the results of my scans, bloodwork, etc after they have been done. I noticed that there wasn’t any reference to my forearms, hands, etc in the last x-ray report. I asked my oncologist about this and he said that the consensus was that it was most important to keep track of the bones that would have the most negative impact on our ability to function. I personally think that lower leg and foot fractures definitely negatively impact how you can walk.

Interesting.  When I asked my oncologist back in Minnesota why x-ray body scans stop at the knees and elbows, he responded they only scan areas with the most bone marrow, since these larger bones with lots of marrow are most likely to be effected.

Either way, I don’t agree with this policy.  X-ray scans are relatively inexpensive.  Why not do the lower arms, legs, hands and feet?  I know a number of myeloma patients who have experienced lesions and multiple myeloma related fractures in these unmonitored areas.  MRI’s and PET scans are much more expensive.  Not expanding these tests to the lower arms and legs might be defensible… Unless you are one of the patients experiencing fractures.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Terry Says:

    I get a total skeletal x-ray from head to feet and hands….My lesions were in my back and elbow. No cancer for about 6 years. They have found a lesion on lower leg that has grown since last year x-ray with numbness to the whole leg so they will do an MRI now.

  2. Pat Killingsworth Says:

    You make my case! Good luck with the MRI. You understand that if there is only one concentrated “hot spot,” radiation should do the trick…

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