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In retrospect, my mom had been having some pain at night while she was sleeping in her upper back. It started a few months before we found the cancer, and she thought nothing of it. She mentioned it maybe once or twice and assumed she just had a little arthritis (she had a history of arthritis, and she had a high pain tolerance and rarely complained). In retrospect, everything is clear.... sigh...
My Mom's mets were discovered on an MRI +/- Gadolinium done of her spine. But that test was done to look for what was causing her arm weakness and not to look for bone mets per se. If you already have cancer, they will do a different test depending upon the area you are complaining about to look for a bone met. A CT scan or an MRI of the area can be helpful, and you MUST use contrast or you can't see the met. If they are worried there may be mets in multiple places in the body in the bone, then a Bone scan or a PET CT scan can be helpful.
After my Mom's spine mets were seen, she had a bone scan. But we never repeated the bone scan after that. We could actually see most of her bone mets on the CT scan (chest/abdomen/pelvis) that she had every few months to follow her disease.
Hope that helps.
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