Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bone Density Scan - a little more info

I had an oncologist appointment today and the good news is that there was no news.  It was a "non-event" (even my blood pressure was normal) and I am now on the "every 3 month" schedule for the next 2 years. 

I  have a copy of my 3D QCT Bone Mineral Densitometry Report from last month.  I had to do a little research to see what all the values really mean.  So first, the QCT is an acronym for quantitative computed tomography.  It's different technology than the usual DEXA scan.  Here is a link to a sample report that looks just like mine:

My spine bone density value is 153.4 mg/cm3, with any value about 120 mg/cm3 indicative of normal bone density. So far, so good!

My T-Score is -0.58, with -1.0 being the bones of a 30 year old.  So my bones are better than a 30 year old.  More goodness.

And my Z-score is 1.81, which is also good news.

"The Z-score compares your bone density to that of other people of your age, sex and ethnic group. A negative Z-score means your bones are thinner and weaker than those of people similar to you, and a positive number means your bones are stronger."

I don't have to worry about osteoporosis at the moment.  I am still working on raising my Vitamin D level up to 70-80.  I was tested in June and I was at 45, which is OK. But I had just come back from a very sunny two weeks in Hawaii.  I expect that my levels would have been lower if the test were done at the end of the long dark winter, say...March.  Hopefully the calcium and D supplements will do their job and raise my levels to where I'd like them to be.   Femara does cause bone loss, so it looks like I have some "reserve" to stave off the side effects for now. 

By the way, I think it's a miracle that my bones are this good.  I have never been a milk drinker and I'm not big into exercise other than walking.  I've never taken calcium supplements unless you count Tums for an upset stomach ;>)

It's all good!



  1. Great report!

    I'm not a milk drinker either but before diabetes a HUGE ice cream person.


  2. Wonderful news for you, Michelle. Hopefully, the Femara doesn't do too much damage on your bones. Must be nice knowing you have the bones of a 30 year old. Absolutely "more goodness."

    I am going to have to take a look at my report from the last time. One doc showed concern while my PCP didn't think there was anything much to worry about. So now I'm going to have to take a look at the numbers. Thanks, Michelle, for doing the research.


  3. That's great news, Michelle! Your scores looked so good. Mine were not. I'm allergic to milk and most milk products, although I can have cheese. I used to stay out of the sun, because I burn so easily and always used lotion when out for longer times.

    I "have" exercised a lot in the past, and was on my feet while I taught, during the one year I didn't exercise as much. Some of the exercise was on a stationary bike and swimming, which is not weight bearing.

    My scores were not great, and I have mulled over taking the medicine prescribed for osteoporosis. I won't, not yet, because I have oseopenia, and I don't like what I've read so far.

    There's no rhyme or reason to bone loss. I've known people who did all the right things, and still had bone loss. Some diseases can cause you not to absorb the calcium as well.

    I "do" take calcium and vitamin D, PLUS exercise and my bone density still went down two years later.

    Cindy, it would be good to look at your numbers, as bike riding is not weight bearing.
    I know you're on your feet a lot, though during the day, and probably walk your dog, do household chores, shopping for food, etc.

    So there is much happy news on your bone density tests, Michelle!