Studies Provide Valuable Data Regarding Breast Cancer Screening
- Posted on: May 30 2018
Each year, the Cancer Society obtains statistics on all forms of cancer. The organization also estimates how many cases we might expect to see in the future. This year, the estimate for breast cancer is over 260,000 for new anticipated cases. Additionally, it is estimated that more than 40,000 deaths this year will be attributed to this type of cancer.
Women are encouraged to obtain routine screenings as a way to detect breast cancer in the earliest possible stage. Historically, mammogram imaging has been the standard screening modality. This technology has been praised for detecting breast cancer tumors that are so small they do not “show up” in manual breast exams. On the flip side, traditional breast screening with mammogram has been found to return false results in both directions: positive and negative.
False-negative mammograms miss cancer, while false-positives appear abnormal even in the absence of breast cancer. According to studies, breast density is a factor in the risk of returning false-negative results using mammogram imaging. This could be because mammograms typically observe fatty non-dense breast tissue as dark and see-through. Dense breast tissue, which includes milk ducts and glands, appears white.
When there is denser breast tissue, there will be more white space on the mammogram image. The more white on the “film,” the more difficult it is to see calcifications, which also appear white. For this reason, women with dense breast tissue may benefit from supplemental screening using an alternative form of imaging. Initially, that form of imaging was whole-breast ultrasound. Now, a new study suggests the merit of abbreviated breast MRI.
What is Breast MRI
MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a screen that is often used to observe soft tissues such as lymph nodes and blood vessels. An abbreviated breast MRI is an expedited screening that uses the same radio frequency and magnetic field technology to obtain a more precise image of breast tissue. The recent study included nearly 200 women with dense breast tissue and no indications of breast cancer. Each patient had had a negative mammogram in the previous 11 months. Upon reviewing abbreviated breast MRI results, researchers discovered five tumors that had gone undetected.
The alarming statistics on breast cancer encourage us to continually offer improved methods of imaging. As innovation progresses, we expect patient outcomes to improve.
Learn more about the services offered in our Humble and Houston radiology facilities by calling an office near you.
Posted in: MRI