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Back and hip pain, MRI done, diffuse marrow signal abnormality, history of radiation therapy

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Practicing since : 2002
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I went in for an MRI for my back and hip pain, when the results came back they stated that there was diffuse marrow signal abnormality throughout the lower thoracic and upper lumbar spine to the level of L4 with largely cellular marrow and very little fatty marrow which I guess is not cool for my age. within L4 L5 and sacrum there is fatty replacement. and then makes statement that this can be seen fromprior radiation therapy , in a radiation therapy port ?the findings are concerning for a cellular marrow replacement process. sorry so long but thought an oncologist could let me know more
Posted Thu, 3 May 2012 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 3 hours later
Hello and thank you for submitting your question.

Your question is a very good one and I will work on providing you with some good information and recommendations regarding what is going on.

Your point that Marrow single abnormality is present in the MRI is somewhat concerning. But we need to take a look at this in the context of your general health.

My question to you is have you ever been exposed to radiation therapy in the past either for a therapeutic purpose or otherwise. This would include treatment for any kind of malignancy or other process.

The other concerning factor when marrow signal abnormalities present would be abnormal blood counts. I would be interested to know your most recent blood test results including complete blood count.

I think right now it is too early to become quite concerned about what is going on. I think we need to gather some more information to determine what the process that is going on really happens to represent. I encourage you to provide me with some more information about your past medical history as well as copies of any recent blood work. You can send any copies of blood work to my attention at the following e-mail address YYYY@YYYY

Thank you again for submitting your question. I hope you found my response to be helpful and informative. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them. I would appreciate it if you could send me a copy of the written report from the most recent MRI as well as any blood test results.


Dr. Robert
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Back and hip pain, MRI done, diffuse marrow signal abnormality, history of radiation therapy 3 hours later
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 3 hours later
Thanks for the information.

While the comment regarding the bone narrow are concerning there is no confirmation here that there is something like cancer going on. With that being said there are still abnormalities which need to be assessed with a possible doctor to assess for any abnormal process in the bone marrow. It is to your advantage that your white and red cell counts and platelets are normal. You have no evidence of kidney or liver disease and are otherwise healthy - all of which make your outlook better regardless of what is found.

It is premature to speculate on a possible cause at this point but I agree in the differential diagnosis we must rule out multiple myeloma, leukemia, myelofibrosis or possibly an infection which could be affecting the bone marrow. I know this is little consolation but right now it is critical that you discuss these findings with your doctor who may consider having you see a hematologist/oncologist. Ultimately the answer will be found but it may take some time.

Thanks again for the query, followups and infrmation. I hope this serves to be an informative experience. I am available if you have any additional concerns as well.


Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Back and hip pain, MRI done, diffuse marrow signal abnormality, history of radiation therapy 56 minutes later
could metastatic cancer cause this i been reading to many articles i think
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 8 hours later
Hello and thanks for the followup.

I understand your concern and your thirst for knowledge regarding these recent finings. I strongly urge you however to refrain from excessive reding as we are only in the preliminary stage of learning what is going on. While metastatic cancer could cause thi type of finding this is not the only thing which could present like this.

My friend I recommend for the time being that you not read or look through the internet. Th internet is good for information access but it is also full of sites where information is not presented correctly. This includes blogs and newsgroups. For now I think you should focus on your health - staying healthy, eating well, exercising and working on relaxation techniques. this will serve you well regardless of what happens in the future.

Thanks again for the query. I hope you found my response to be helpful and informative If you have any additional concerns I ould be happy to address them.


Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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