Cancer and Your Bones
Cancer and its treatments can affect unanticipated parts of the body. One of these places is your bones. At the Saint Vincent Cancer and Wellness Center, we work to keep your bones healthy during and after treatment by monitoring your bone health. 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
Through our bone density testing, we 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.
DEXA Bone Density Scan
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.
Short for dual-energy X-ray absorption, DEXA scans are a quick and painless way to measure bone mineral density. During the scan, you will lie on a table for 15 to 20 minutes while your entire skeleton or specific points on your body are scanned. 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.
A bone scan is an imaging test that’s used to evaluate bone fractures, monitor bone conditions like infections, arthritis or osteoporosis, and detect cancerous cells that have metastasized to the bone from another site. We also use bone scans to evaluate your bone health before, during and after cancer treatment.
During a bone scan, we use a small dose of radioactive material and inject it into your bloodstream. This radioactive material then collects on the bones and helps us see cell activity and bone function when we scan your body.
You can find out more about bone density testing at the Saint Vincent Cancer and Wellness Center or schedule an appointment by calling us at or locally at (508) 363-5921.