Can MRIs Help Improve Breast Cancer Detection?

Mammograms are the leading test for determining if a woman has developed breast cancer. However, according to the American Cancer Society, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also help doctors with diagnoses.

MRIs are more sensitive, thus showing more details than mammograms. Additionally, these machines are more efficient at detecting cancer than mammograms. However, these tests should always be used together during breast cancer exams because an MRI doesn't always pick up all forms of cancer.

The American Cancer Society recommends that woman with a high risk of hereditary breast cancer get an MRI each year along with their mammogram. People should consult their health care provider to determine if they fall into this group, which generally points to a 20 percent or greater lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.

Breast ultrasound, also called sonography, is another test that is used. It is less expensive than an MRI and can target a specific area to help tell the difference between benign cysts and cancerous tumors.

"When imaging modalities such as ultrasound and mammography are not conclusive, MRI can be employed to help cast the deciding vote," Dr. Philip Meyer, a diagnostic radiologist at the Women's Imaging Centre in Lafayette, La., told Lafayette ABC affiliate KATC.

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