Youth Cancer

Bone Scan

This is a more sensitive test than the simple x-ray and can show abnormalities long before they show up in other tests.

How does it work?

  • A small amount of a mildly radioactive substance is injected into a vein, usually in your arm, and is absorbed by your bones as it travels through your body.
  • The radioactive material or 'tracer' concentrates in areas where there is a lot of activity, like normal growing bone or in bone tumours or bone infections. These areas will show up as 'hot spots' on the scan.
  • You have to drink a lot of water or juice right after the fluid is injected to clear your body of radioactive material not absorbed by your bones. Don’t worry - the radioactive material is not harmful to you as it is given in such as small dose.

What's it like?

  • Bone scans take about an hour and you have to lie very still while the camera moves back and forth.
  • You might be asked to change positions several times to get different images. Because no x-rays are emitted, you can have someone stay in the treatment room with you.