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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 42-46

Opportunistic use of “follow-up” chest and abdominal computed tomography in the assessment of bone mineral density of breast cancer patients in a resource-poor nation

1 Department of Radiology, University of Ghana Medical School, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Korle Bu, Ghana
2 Sweden Ghana Medical Centre, Ghana
3 Department of Surgery, University Of Ghana Medical School, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Korle Bu, Legon, Ghana
4 Regional Institute of Population Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana
5 Radiology Directorate, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana
6 Department of Radiology, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Korle Bu, Accra, Ghana
7 Department of Radiology, School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Yaw Boateng Mensah
Department of Radiology, University of Ghana Medical School, College of Health Sciences, University of GhanaKorle Bu, Accra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/wajr.wajr_20_21

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Background: Breast cancer patients experience bone loss from treatment-induced menopause, as well as from the direct effect of cancer. The use of computed tomography (CT) attenuation values of the lumbar spine to estimate bone mineral density has been validated by several studies. Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective study conducted at Sweden Ghana Medical Centre and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital between June 2016 and August 2019. Measurement of Hounsfield unit (HU) of lumbar vertebrae was achieved by drawing an elliptical region of interest (ROI) on an axial image of the vertebra about 2–3 mm from the spinal cortical bone. The mean HU of the ROI was measured on bone window for each of the vertebral bodies, and the values were documented and analyzed. Results: The mean bone densities of the vertebrae were generally higher for the noncancer patients compared to the breast cancer patients for all the age groups. The measured bone densities showed a normal distribution curve. The range of bone density for osteopenia and osteoporosis was between 174.4 and 236.4 HU and <174.4 HU, respectively. A Pearson's correlation analysis between patient age and bone density for both groups showed a negative statistically significant relationship. Conclusion: Using CT attenuation values of lumbar vertebra to estimate bone density established that the bone densities follow a normal distribution, the mean bone density for breast cancer patients were slightly lower than for noncancer patients, and age correlated better with lumbar bone density in noncancer patients than in breast cancer patients.

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