The percentage of women undergoing magnetic resonance imaging MRI exams of the breast has increased in recent years, but often, the women who could benefit the most from the procedure aren't the ones getting it, new research suggests. Breast MRIs are recommended as a way to screen for breast cancer in women at high risk for the disease those whose lifetime breast cancer risk is greater than 20 percent , in conjunction with yearly mammograms. MRIs are also used to diagnose breast cancer, but this is not recommended, particularly before a biopsy is performed. A new study finds that the use of breast MRIs in the United States nearly tripled in recent years: from 42 exams per 10, women in , to exams per 10, women in In a trend that the researchers called an improvement, the use of MRIs to diagnose breast cancer decreased.
Indications for Breast MRI in the Patient with Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer
Many High-Risk Women Refuse Breast MRI
December 10, Magnetic resonance imaging MRI coupled with mammography detects almost all cancers at an early stage, thereby reducing the incidence of advanced stage breast cancer in high-risk women. The researchers separated 1, women at high risk for breast cancer into two groups: One group was screened with MRI plus mammography, and the second, a control group, received conventional screening by mammography. Warner and colleagues followed the women over several years to determine which screening method detected cancer at a significantly earlier stage. Forty-one cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in the MRI group compared with 76 diagnoses in the control group. There were proportionately fewer advanced breast cancers, and more early cancers among women who screened with MRI compared with those not screened with MRI. Furthermore, cancer size was smaller in the MRI group.
Breast - MRI
Mammography is the only imaging study that has been proven in multiple large randomized trials to decrease breast cancer mortality. Mammography, however, has its limitations and, as such, other modalities that can complement it are being studied. One of these is dynamic contrast-enhanced breast MRI, which has emerged as an important adjunctive modality and is at present the most sensitive modality that we have to evaluate the breast. The American College of Radiology, in its practice guidelines, has outlined the 12 current indications for breast MRI.
Use of breast MRI in the preoperative evaluation of patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer has increased significantly over the past 10 years because of its well-documented high sensitivity for detecting otherwise occult breast cancer in the affected and contralateral breasts. However, published research reports on the impact of this improved cancer detection are limited. Equally important are growing concerns that the quality of breast MRI may vary significantly across practice sites, and therefore the published value of MRI may not be achieved for many patients.