Still annual DEXA after normal scan, tamoxifen?


Question from Debi33: If you had a normal DEXA scan and are currently taking tamoxifen, do you still need a yearly DEXA scan?
Answers - Charles Shapiro I would continue to monitor it because it's possible that with age bone loss may increase. So continue to follow the recommendation that's generally applied of yearly bone density scans of postmenopausal women.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Dr. Shapiro's earlier point is very important to bring up again. That is, that the bone is a very active organ. The strength of your bones is a dynamic state that can change over time, so a one-time test result reflects what's happening only at the particular time that the test is given. Over time, things can stay the same, improve, or worsen. And that is why we do serial tests over time. It's also important to be aware that the recommendation to do annual DEXA scans is one that is made for women with breast cancer who are beyond menopause. This is different from the recommendations that are usually given to postmenopausal women without any history of breast cancer. So, don't be surprised if your primary care doctor says that the general recommendation is to only do a DEXA scan every few years. You then need to say to your doctor that your circumstances require extra attention, in view of your breast cancer history.

On Wednesday, August 21, 2002, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Keeping Your Bones StrongCharles L. Shapiro, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about how to measure the strength of your bones, how to find out your risk for osteoporosis, and what you can do to lower that risk.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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