Posted on March 8th, 2009 by
According to guidelines published in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, the addition of high-quality breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to other imaging techniques such as mammography can help evaluate the extent of the cancer in women with newly diagnosed breast cancer, and can also be used to screen the opposite breast for cancer.
MRI uses radio waves and a magnet to create detailed images of the inside of the body. The American Cancer Society now recommends that women at high risk of breast cancer undergo yearly breast cancer screening with breast MRI in addition to mammography. These recommendations were prompted by several studies of MRI screening of women at high risk of breast cancer. While these studies found that the addition of MRI to mammography increased the frequency of false-positive test results compared with mammography alone, it also produced important improvements in breast cancer detection.
In addition to being used to screen women for the presence of breast cancer, MRI can also be used to evaluate the extent of disease in women with newly diagnosed breast cancer. A recent publication in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network summarized what is known about breast MRI in women with newly diagnosed breast cancer, and provided recommendations regarding the use of MRI in this setting. Some of the key points are as follows:
This review indicates that in addition to its role in the screening of women at high risk of breast cancer, MRI may also play a role in the evaluation of women with newly diagnosed breast cancer.
Reference: Lehman CD, DeMartini W, Anderson BO, Edge SB. Indications for breast MRI in the patient with newly diagnosed breast cancer. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. 2009;7:193-201.
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