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Radiology/Arthrtis vs cancer?


I recently had a bone scan that showed "intense, asymmetric activity at the left sternoclavicular joint consistent with severe osteoarthritis". As a breast cancer survivor, this is worrisome to me. How do the radiologists tell whether activity is cancer or arthritis? In your opinion, what would be the next more detailed test to do so I would know for sure?

Hello, Thespina.

First, I am not a physician. Therefore, I am not qualified to diagnose disease. I am only the photographer.

Honestly, I don't know how the radiologists tell whether Bone Scan activity is cancer or arthritis. I do know that when there is doubt about something that appears in one imaging modality, it is very useful to scan the same area with a different modality.

I think it might be helpful to have a CT of your left sterno-clavicular joint. If it is bone cancer, it will likely show up differently than arthritis would.

You are right to be concerned and should consult your physician about this. (S)He will be in the best position to order further testing, if necessary. I hope it's nothing to worry about.

Hope this helps,


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Delia White


I am not qualified to interpret diagnostic imaging or to diagnose disease. Please consult a physician for that information. I am the photographer. I can tell you what to expect during most MRI, CT and X-ray procedures.


I now have more than 30 years experience in diagnostic imaging. My specialty is MRI. I am also very familiar with CT and the way we used to take x-rays (everything's digital now)!

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Radiologic Technology.

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