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Study Suggests Women At Risk for Breast Cancer Should Get An MRI

By rob13     Mar 28, 2007 in Health
According to new guidelines released by the American Cancer Society, women at risk for breast cancer should go get an MRI.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women, and prevention is the key for controlling cancer. Roughly 41,000 women will die each year from breast cancer, but if detected early there is about a 98 percent survival rate for women diagnosed with this cancer.
Because a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is more sensitive than your standard mammogram, these scans can detected even the tiniest of tumors that women may miss by performing a self-check.
The last guidelines were released in 2003. At that time, officials said there wasn't enough information available to recommend MRI screening. Several studies completed since then have highlighted its benefits, leading a panel of experts convened by the cancer society to urge the change.
A study in the March 29th New England Journal of Medicine, states that about 1,000 women who had breast cancer in one breast but not in the other underwent an MRI to make sure the cancer did not spread. This study did find that 30 of these women had cancer in the other breast that was supposedly cancer free.
Of course, no test is 100 percent accurate. MRI's will sometimes come back with a result that showed a possible lesion that was not cancer, but it lead women to seek a biopsy. This is what medical personnel call a 'false positive'. These 'false positives' lead to a lot of fear and anxiety among women which is why the American Cancer Society suggest only women considered high risk should go for an MRI.
MRI machines, made by companies including General Electric Co., create a three dimensional image of the breast using magnetic fields, showing where tissue density varies and setting apart even small tumors. A mammogram is a more straight-forward x-ray that uses light and dark images to spot irregularities.
More about Women, Breast, Mri