What is a Breast MRI?
Breast MRI is a very sensitive imaging study requiring the use of intravenous dye to look at the both the anatomical structure and blood flow characteristics of the breast. It can be used for several reasons if recommended by your physician, and can help find cancer at the earliest stages.
Breast MRI for High Risk Screening
Sometimes women with a higher risk of developing breast cancer may benefit from more intensive screening. Breast MRI may be offered to such women in addition to annual mammography to decrease the risk of missing interval breast cancers. Breast MRI may help to find cancer at the earliest stages, reducing the need for more aggressive therapies. Because its findings are less specific, breast MRI may find other lesions that require additional tests but ultimately prove benign. Therefore, it is not a screening devise for “average risk” woman in the general population.
Additional Uses for Breast MRI
Several other roles for breast MRI are evolving and further demonstrate its importance as an imaging device. Breast MRI can be helpful in defining additional areas of breast cancer in the same or opposite breast at the time of initial diagnosis if recommended by your doctor.
In the setting of locally advanced breast cancer or when medicines are given before definitive surgery, breast MRI can be critical in evaluating response to treatment and your surgeon plan the most appropriate surgical procedure.