Routine Mammography Not Necessary If Used Breast MRI

3d-breast-mriAdding screening mammography to annual screening MR imaging for women at high risk for breast cancer does not increase cancer detection rates, according to a study published in Radiology.

Researchers from Canada performed a retrospective review to evaluate the value of mammography in detecting breast cancer in high-risk women undergoing screening breast MR imaging.

The researchers evaluated 3,934 screening studies (1,977 screening MR imaging examinations and 1,957 screening mammograms) performed in 1,249 high-risk women. The performance measures included recall and cancer detection rates, sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive values were calculated for both mammography and MR imaging. [Read more…]

The Benefits of a Breast MRI – Are they Safe?

When it comes to diagnosing breast cancer, a breast MRI is relatively new, but is becoming one of the most dependable tests for detecting abnormalities in the breast. It uses a powerful magnet to produce hundreds of images, using gadolinium, a non-radioactive contrast. Although, the contrast isn’t always used, especially for those who have a sensitivity to iodine.

Your doctor might ask for a breast MRI in addition to other tests, such as an ultrasound. But, the MRI has some advantages over other tests. [Read more…]

Breast MRI’s and Breast Cancer

Breast MRI’s are continuously studied, so the scan is still evolving. The test can be highly advantageous for high-risk situations for patients, such as dense tissue in the breasts. However, it is not guaranteed that all cancers will be detected.

A breast MRI should not be performed to determine if the tissue is non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). When an abnormality is found, a breast biopsy should be done to test the suspicious tissue.

Keep in mind, there can be false positive test results. And, a breast MRI cannot effectively detect small flecks of microcalcifications (calcium). These microcalcifcations account for nearly half of all cancers that mammography will detect.

To schedule Breast MRI exam please call us at (248) 740-0777.

How Do You Prepare for a Breast MRI?

When making the appointment, the office will most likely ask you the dates of your last menstrual cycle, from the first day of bleeding to the last. They ask this because they want to schedule the test 6-16 days after you started your last cycle. This is the best time to schedule a breast MRI, because abnormalities are better detected when hormones are not interfering with the breast tissue.

If you are currently taking a hormone replacement therapy, you must stop the treatment about 4-6 weeks prior to the test.

Breastfeeding does not preclude you from having a breast MRI, because the baby will absorb less than 1% of the contrast. This is no more than what the baby would receive if they were having the test done themselves. Of course, it’s a personal decision, but you are not required to stop breastfeeding prior to the test.

One other thing you can do prior to the scan, is to gather and bring with you any previous reports or tests on the breast, including mammograms, biopsies, and ultrasounds. The doctor who will be reading your MRI will be able to use them to interpret and evaluate the current condition of the breast tissue.

You do not have to fast before the test, nor stop any other medications, other than HRT. Other than that, and bringing previous reports, there are no special preparation steps to abide by before having a breast MRI.

What You Should Know about Breast MRI’s

When it comes to breast cancer, mammography is a proven source for early detection for most patients. Although, if the breast tissue is dense, it makes detection more difficult. Fortunately, a breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is far more effective in these cases.

Relatively new, a breast MRI is an exceptionally specialized test that utilizes a powerful magnet to capture hundreds of images within the breast. Typically, a non-radioactive contrast dye called gadolinium is injected intravenously prior to the start of the procedure, to help create sharper images. This helps in outlining any abnormality that might be present, because the dye tends to gravitate to abnormal tissue. However, a dye isn’t always used, especially if the patient has a sensitivity to iodine.

The patient is then required to remain still, while they are on a sliding table, which goes through a large enclosed tube, shaped like a cylinder. A patient should prepare for this test to run for about 45 minutes, once they are appropriately prepped.

Breast MRI: More Diagnostic Accuracy

Mammo_breast_cancerAn MRI screening protocol for breast cancer that takes just 3 minutes is as good as a regular MRI that takes 21 minutes, and more accurate than digital mammography, according to a proof-of-concept study published in the August 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The accelerated MRI was as good as regular MRI for detecting 11 invasive breast cancers that had escaped detection on regular mammography, report Christiane A. Kuhl, MD, and colleagues from the University Hospital of Aachen in Bonn, Germany.

“MRI is the technique of the future [for screening]. Ionizing radiation is not involved. Compared with digital mammography, it is highly sensitive, and overdiagnosis is less of a problem, contrary to current notions,” Dr. Kuhl told Medscape Medical News.

[Read more…]

Early Detection of Breast Cancer using MRI

breast-cancerFor certain women at high risk for breast cancer, screening magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is recommended along with a yearly mammogram. MRI is not generally recommended as a screening tool by itself, because although it is a sensitive test, it may still miss some cancers that mammograms would detect. MRI may also be used in other situations, such as to better examine suspicious areas found by a mammogram. MRI can also be used in women who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer to better determine the actual size of the cancer and to look for any other cancers in the breast.

Magnetic resonance imaging

MRI scans use magnets and radio waves instead of x-rays to produce very detailed, cross-sectional images of the body. The most useful MRI exams for breast imaging use a contrast material (called gadolinium) that is injected into a catheter in a vein (IV) in the arm before or during the exam. This improves the ability of the MRI to clearly show breast tissue details.

[Read more…]

BRCA1 and BRCA2: Cancer Risk and Genetic Testing

Mri_of_breastWhat are BRCA1 and BRCA2?

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that produce tumor suppressor proteins. These proteins help repair damaged DNA and, therefore, play a role in ensuring the stability of the cell’s genetic material. When either of these genes is mutated, or altered, such that its protein product is not made or does not function correctly, DNA damage may not be repaired properly.

As a result, cells are more likely to develop additional genetic alterations that can lead to cancer. Specific inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of female breast and ovarian cancers, and they have been associated with increased risks of several additional types of cancer. Together, BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for about 20% to 25% of hereditary breast cancers1 and about 5% to 10% of all breast cancers.2 In addition, mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 account for around 15% of ovarian cancers overall.3

Breast cancers associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations tend to develop at younger ages than sporadic breast cancers. A harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation can be inherited from a person’s mother or father. Each child of a parent who carries a mutation in one of these genes has a 50% chance of inheriting the mutation. The effects of mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are seen even when a person’s second copy of the gene is normal.

[Read more…]

Breast MRIs not always used appropriately

oaklandmri-woman-breast-mriThe 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.

[Read more…]