New Research Shows Many High-Risk Women Aren’t Getting MRIs

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a great tool to determine whether someone has developed breast cancer when it is coupled with a mammogram. According to HealthDay, the use of MRIs has almost tripled in recent years. However, a study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine suggests many high-risk women aren’t getting scanned.

The number of high-risk women receiving MRIs increased from 9 percent in 2005 to 29 percent in 2009. But Harvard Medical School researchers say more than half of women with genetic markers that put them at a high risk of developing the disease aren’t getting tested, according to the source.

“Ours is the first large-scale report of how women are actually using breast MRI in national community practice,” Karen Wernli, PhD, lead author of the study and assistant investigator at Group Health Research Institute, said in a statement. “We found that use of breast MRI for breast cancer screening – rather than diagnosis – is rising, as is appropriate.”

Researchers from the study also want to limit MRIs in women who don’t have a high risk of developing breast cancer. In some cases, this test can produce false readings that contribute to anxiety and may lead to unnecessary biopsies and other procedures.

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