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Can MRI Help Detect Breast Cancer?

December 14, 2009
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Cardiac Imaging
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When ultrasound and mammogram results prove inconclusive, can breast MRI help crack the case? That’s what researchers at New York University School of Medicine tried to find out in a study recently published in the American Journal of Roentgeneology. The scientists reviewed images done over a six-year period from 115 MRI exams, all of which were performed following inconclusive mammograms and ultrasounds. Of the cases studied, 48 of the women were considered at high risk for breast cancer. Overwhelmingly, breast assymetry led to the MRIs, showing up in more than 85 percent of the inconclusive mammomograms; architecture distortion or changes in benign growths accounted for the other MRIs. Out of all the abnormalities for which mammogram results were unclear, MRI found 80 percent to be benign. Only 0.7 percent of uncertain mammogram results proved to be malignant through MRI. Given that the instances of actually finding breast cancer through MRI are so low, some experts say MRI may be best reserved for women who are at high risk.

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