NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Prostate Cancer, Version 1.2016
Bone scan machine
Doctors use bone scans to
assess if cancer has spread
to the bones.
Imaging for metastases
Gamma Camera by Brendaicm available atcommons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File
under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.
A bone scan is advised if you have signs or symptoms
of bone metastases. For this test, a radiotracer will be
injected into your vein. The most common radiotracer
used for bone scans is technetium. A special camera
will then take pictures of the dye in the bones. The
radiotracer can be seen in your bones 2 to 3 hours
after it is injected. You may be asked to drink water
and empty your bladder to wash out any of the
radiotracer that is not in your bones.
shows a machine that is used to take
the pictures. You will need to lie still on the padded
table for 45 to 60 minutes to complete the pictures.
Prostate cancer in bone can damage the bone
causing the bone to try in vain to repair itself.
Areas of bone repair take up more of the radiotracer
than healthy bone and thus show up as bright or
“hot” spots in the pictures. However, other health
conditions besides cancer can cause bone repair. A
radiologist can often tell what is and is not cancer in
an abnormal bone scan.
CT or MRI
CT or MRI of your pelvis may show if your lymph
nodes are enlarged. MRI was described in Part 2.
MRI images are made with a magnetic field and radio
waves. A CT scan takes many pictures of a body
part from different angles using x-rays. A computer
combines all the x-rays to make detailed pictures.
Getting a CT scan is like getting an MRI scan. Before
CT, you may need to drink enough liquid to have a full