Dexa Scan

The risk of osteoporosis is felt to be two-four times greater in women than in men. Osteoporosis involves a loss of bone or bone density that puts one at increased risk for fractures, particularly of the hip and for compression fractures of the spine. However, certain diseases put men at an increased risk for bone loss over women.The treatment for prostate cancer with anti-testosterone medications, such as Lupron, Eligard, and Trelstar mimics the loss of estrogen in women at menopause. With more common use of early therapy for prostate cancer, the problem may increase in men. Smoking, alcohol, and a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to the problem.

The diagnosis of osteoporosis is made with an X-ray. The most common and accurate bone study is through a type of X-ray called a DEXA scan (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry). This type of scan is very safe and takes about ten minutes to do. The patient lies on a flat table while a scanner moves over the body measuring bone density in two different spots, usually the hip (or thigh bone) and lower spine. Although there is no current standard for bone density in men, the standard now used for women is felt to be accurate enough for men. The results of the DEXA scan are given as a “T-score” which represents the degree of deviation from the normal bone scan reading of a 21 year-old woman.

Once the degree of bone loss is determined, various treatments are available for increasing bone density.

The patient with prostate cancer should talk with his doctor about screening for osteoporosis.Early diagnosis is important to prevent a long-term problem.

dexa scan