will pet scan determine if my brest cancer has met to my bones?

Hello,
I have been recently diagnosed with HER2 breast cancer. I had surgery to remove the tumors. The bone scan and X ray have shown a lesion in the femur. The doctors says that it is suspicious but they cannot assure if it is cancer. Do you think a pet scan would help? By the way, I wont have chemotherapy. I will have radiation and will be taking some pills, but don't know yet which ones..
Thank you very much.

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A Pet scan shows increased cell activity in your body.
Cancer is rapidly dividing cells,and shows on a Pet,but maybe a bone biopsy is the best thing?
Why won't you have chemo?
Are your tumors ER+/PR+?

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Hi Fuerza. Sorry about your diagnosis and your surgeries. It's not easy, is it? I was diagnosed with mets to the bone it was done via PET. In other words, the PET confirmed lesions in my lumbar and thoracic vertebrae and right iliac bone. Not bad, by the way! Bone is the most common metastases site and brings a much better prognosis than if it had spread to soft organs (liver, lung, brain).

A lesion is a lack of bone (not a tumor which is excessive bone) and could mean osteoporosis or osteopenia, so that's why they are saying they cannot assure it is cancer. Because this suspicious lesion is in your femur (a long bone and not close to the breast), it seem to me unlikely that it is related. I doubt you would have to have chemotherapy yet since hormonals often work. Let's hope not. Also, I am sure your doctor will suggest either Xgeva or Zometa for the bone lesion which may just take care of it.

If you have risk factors for osteoporosis, that might make it more likely to have that rather than mets:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/osteoporosis/ds00128/dsection=risk-factors

I guess after I've said all of this is that I know my medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering always gives me PET scans to determine if there is a lesion or tumor. I have only gotten two in two years though. Usually I get bone and CT scans every three months.

I hope this helps.

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Hello Cheri..thanks for responding. Its ER/PR positive. Two weeks ago I was told I was going to have chemo...suddenly my doctor changed her mind and has told me I won't need it...I was taken by surprised, that I did not even ask her why...I am very scared...I noticed the lumps on my brest on december, but it was not until the ned of march that they did the mamogram and ultrasound...I wouldn't be in such an advance state if the doctors would have been quicker..I am 38 yrs with three little kids...the thing is that the radiologist say there is no way of knowing for sure if its cancer or not what I have in my femur..that any more test would be useless....they also say that a sample (byopsy) in the femur is too difficult to take ( right now I don't feel any pain in my leg)...so I am here, desperate, because I don't even know the stage of my sickness...and my worries are, that if they do suspect that I have cancer, why they don't put me in some kind of treatement ASAP?
thanks for your time in reading my story....

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Thanks Blondie...it is difficult...I big hug to you... I am sure that God will do the miracle and remove this from us...

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Hi Fuerza,
I learned several things through all of this madness.
Regroup ( have quiet time with yourself and get correct data from your physicians/ keep a log of test results) . Get support from trusted family and friends. Get a SECOND OPINION from another oncologist in your location.


Consider a consult with an orthopedist(bone specialist), take a copy of all pertinent scans showing femur lesion. He or she can then advise you on a biopsy. Remember to talk to your current oncologist to get correct information on diagnosis and tell her your concerns and you may have to ask for the bone biopsy and explanation on why no
treatment. Make sure you leave the office with your questions answered to your satisfaction.

Best wishes
Spintatter

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Second opinion, maybe a third ... totally necessary asap, after regrouping, of course. :-) We're here for you!

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I had a PET scan at the time of diagnosis and it showed a subtle suspicious spot on my humeris.

A biopsy confirmed it was a metastasis.

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Hi - I can understand your concerns. Originally my Dr. said I needed chemo then I had a PET. It came back NEG - we repeated PET 3 months later still NEG. I'm scheduled for another one in July I'm scared (my Dr. recommendation PET every 6 months for the next 2 years). All cancers are different - after being on this sight for several months I've learned so much - there are some really smart people on here to help and listen. Best, Lorie

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Hello ladies,

Thanks for your support..ti means so much to me...only another person with the same sickness can understand...We are together in this...I will fight to get a second opinion and the orthopedist....hugs!

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Go get that second opinion........a PET or biopsy needs done to confirm either way. I can't understand why they were dragging their feet........December -May...........what are they waiting for?
I was diagnosed @ 38. It's been a long haul. Done wait til you have hip pain or break your femur. Be a bold advocate........sometimes, that's what you have to do. You should be on a biphosphate and Herceptin, and also an AI. GO get that PET or biopsy done.......find a doctor who is more aggressive...........and then talk treatments. Godspeed.

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Hello Sunshine,
I've heard that the decision on not doing chemo depends alot of the stage of your brest cancer and also in its nature.....hopefully yours was in its early stage and you really don't need it...I read on this site of another lady who had metastesis on her femur and she was not given chemo, only hormone treatment...now her cancer has spread to the liver....
I wish you the best...

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Thanks for your advice...I will go tomorrow and getthings cleared. What is AL? The Dr has told me that she will put me in prenotonate to make the bones stronger...have you heard of it?
Thanks....God bless you

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AI 's........aromitase inhibitors (antihormone meds). Being ER+/PR+/HER2+.....you should be on an AI.

Because you are HER2+...........Herceptin or tdm1, also should be done monthly. Her2+ bc tend to be more aggressive, but Herceptin is a fantastic drug, that can help stop the bc (It's lots better to be ER+/PR+/HER2+............than it is to be ER-/PR-/HER2- .......triple negative). So, this is a 'thumbprint' that is totally treatable. That's in your favor.

Prenotonate sounds like a biphosphate (same family as zometa and xgeva) they are protocol, whenever the antihormone drugs are taken. They keep you from getting osteoporosis or osteopenia, which is common for menopausal women..........when you are on antihormones, it is biologically the same as menopause.

The next question...........biopsy or PET scan for your femur.

Sometimes,...........you need to advocate........write down your questions, go to your appointments ready for answers. Take notes and keep track of when/what/where........you have any appointments or treatments. Sometimes, you are the only one who knows what you've had done...........Doctors can't remember every date, chemo, radiation,....etc that every patient has had/done.........You know better, what you've been through.

Your mind is running a thousand miles an hour. You'll find yourself forgetting things.........It's 'overload'.......it happens to everyone. All the more reason to write it ALL down.

My heart goes out to you. It's such a terrible thing to hear........breathe........love your children,.......and take each step as it comes. Always advocate for yourself. Accept help where you can........friends and family may want to help......let them. Remember to breathe.......and take some quiet time to meditate or just 'be'.

This support group is unbelievably helpful. The support and information is one keyboard away. Let us know how you are doing.
I'll be praying for you, if that's ok. Blessings to you...........Anita

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Fuerza;

I am so sorry for joining to the club, my heart goes out for you. Why did it take so long for you to have mammogram? Was it because of the health care program in Canada? I was diagnosed at 38 but if my family Dr. in Canada had taken the lump serious, the out come might have been different. Well it is past now, and I can not change the past.

Sometime not having pain does not mean anything. I was diagnosed with bone mets in too many places and lymph nodes 1.5 year ago, and did not have any pain. I did not have bone biopsy since it was difficult to reach. The bone met was confirmed by PET/CT.

With love,
Sara

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Hello friends,
I just came from the doctor...I got there and told them I wasn't leaving until I got some medication to stop those cells from growing....the doctors are taking as a fact that I have cancer in my femur and so do I...they want to insert a port-a cath close to my heart...I really don't want that...
...she did not give me any hopes...I will live as long as the meds work...she told me about removing my ovaries some time in the future...
Sara, if you have lived in Canada you know how family doctors asume that you don't have nothing...as you say, no matter how frustrated you feel that won't change anything.....
Anita...I hope God gives me half your courage...I don't seem to find any now....
I am praying for all of us....I will try to get a second opinion....
I feel bad...I feel that I am dragging my family into my abiss...God really needs to give me some strength....
My love to you,

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Welcome Fuerza
So glad you have found this web site. We are all in this together..Everyone is such an inspiration.I've been on my journey since Nov 06. I've only had 1 pet scan..We do CT"S and a Bone scan every three months..Mainly to keep the cost down..If my Dr can't see from the scans what he wants then he says we will do a Pet Scan..{very spend y} some insurances will not authorize it. I have lots of faith in my Dr and believe that he has made my journey last this long. I was diagnosed at stage 4..already to my bones..I have not had chemo till Jan of this yr..I started Xeloda which is an oral chemo. My Dr believes keeping me on the least invasive procedure as possible..I have had lots if radiation..In Nov 2011 I had a femural rodding surgery. Where they inserted a rod {the length of my femur} into my femur..As it was at high risk for fracture do to the weaking of the bone caused by my cancer...
So why the port? I don't have one..Make sure it is a power port..So they can use it for drawing blood and inserting dye for scans...
I took a tape recorder into my first couple appointments just cause it is so overwhelming...Never go alone...I have gone to my Dr every 4 weeks for the last 5 yrs so we have become very close..I have an xgeva injection every 4 weeks..Have gone through lots of different meds in the last 5 yrs...
I know that the insurance is way different where you live..Do you have to pay for it???
Keep your head heald high...ENJOY every moment with family and friends possible...
Were here for you so keep in touch with us..This site has helped me so much has given me so much strength...
Blessings,,,,,'HOPE" Bear

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Fuerza,
The port-o-cath........Is your friend. It will keep you from having to be poked constantly with needles for IV's . Almost every appointment will involvement a blood draw or IV. All of the scans involving contrast will involve an IV. With a power port, they access it and it's done. After a few treatments.........the veins become more difficult to access..........plus, if the chemo leaks in your vein (extravasation) it could cause tissue necrosis. The opposite side of your bc. Make sure they numb it well and do extra good conscious sedation.

This is a lot of info, but you'll be glad that you know it. The port procedure isn't pleasant, but in the grand scheme of things.........It's a love/hate thing.......you'll love having quick access, but you'll hate having it.

I'm glad that you were able to get the doctors to pay attention. I'm from old school.....I want to know everything, so that I can process it.......then prepare to win the battle.

Happy to hear progress in making a plan. I had a total hysterectomy, double mastectomy and I'm on my 3rd port. I started at 38, and I'm now 48...........You can get through this..........it is a wild ride, but you can do this.
Take extra care......Anita

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Hello Hope Bear...its good to hear that you are doing well...I am in Canada and evrything is covered so far...I am lucky for that...they say I need the cathether because the prenitonate is very harsh on the veins (!?)...I really don't want that...How does a power port work? This ones look awful...its almost 1 cm in diameter coming out of your throat...you can't hide it....
Have you been able to work all this time? I am the only source of income to my family...that is another thing that worries me...
...Did you have tumor markers done on your blood? I spoke to another doctor and he ask me for those......
...I have just moved to the city where I live and I don't have anyone to go with me....that would be the best...someone who can ask the questions that I forget....
Thank you very much for your support....
Hugs,

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Hello again..do you think that tumor markers would show the mets in my bones?

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HI,
Yes pet scan shows because I have bone mets and that is how it was detected. I go to Sloan and my dr always gives me the full body pet scan because it shows the bones but also the vital organs and we also go by my tumor markers Get scans every 3 months
Good Luck and Welcome!!!
Stay Strong and keep a positive attitude!!!
Cathy

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