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Breast Cancer Blog: Mammogram or MRI of the Breast?

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Dec 7, 2005

Mammogram or MRI of the Breast?

Mammogram or MRI of the Breast? Image of MRI courtesy of UC San Francisco
This morning I was reading a news story from the Duke Medical center. The writer was talking about a 56-year-old woman. She had a mammogram and passed with flying colors. Just two weeks later she noticed a lump in her breast and undergone an MRI of the breast, which demonstrated glaring mass the size of a walnut and it was cancer.

Then naturally we all may think, why don't everyone get screening with MRI of the breast rather than with mammogram. There are several reasons why this is not a good idea.

Both mammogram and MRI may have its strengths and weakness. Where one fail the other prevails. Thinking about the cost involved, MRI is ten times more costly compared to the regular mammogram. Even with this high price tag it may fail to show those tiny specs of calcifications, which may be the harbingers of breast cancer.

Mammogram may fail in some women, especially in cases where the woman have dense breasts. Dense breasts with tightly packed cells can block the X-rays from distinguishing a cancer mass from other packed cells.

Given the pluses and minuses associated with these two modalities of breast cancer screening, the task is to determine who will benefit from mammogram and who will need an MRI of the breast. It is best to use these techniques complimenting each other.

African American women tend to have denser breasts and may be best screened using MRI, but doctors say there is not much information available from clinical trials to prove this fact. All African American women who have high risk factors for breast cancer should have access to MRI of the breast. Given this fact, insurance companies may not be willing to pay for an MRI citing lack of evidence to the added benefit of MRI screening.

Sherin      


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Breast cancer blog: Breast cancer blog is run by Emily and other bloggers and they bring you the latest stories, news and events that are related to breast cancer. Increasing awareness about breast cancer among women and in the general population is the main goal of this breast cancer blog.

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Janet      


Breast cancer
Every year, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Breast cancer ranks second as the leading cause of cancer deaths in American women. Until recently breast cancer topped the list of leading causes of cancer deaths in women, but lately lung cancer has claimed the top position. If skin cancer is excluded, breast cancer is the commonest cancer among American women.

Breast Cancer Blog: Mammogram or MRI of the Breast?

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