Women with an increased risk of breast cancer AND dense breasts may benefit from adding ultrasounds or MRIs to their annual mammogram screenings.
Researchers from 21 institutions affiliated with the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) found that ultrasounds and MRIs found additional cancers not seen by mammography alone. The study concluded that supplemental ultrasounds increased cancer detection by an average of 4.3 cancers per 1,000 women per year while MRI further increased cancer detection by an average of 14.7 cancers per 1,000 women per year.
Why doesn’t mammography find these cancers? One of the lead researchers said that looking for a cancer in a woman with dense breasts via mammography is “like looking for a polar bear in a snowstorm”. Dense breast tissue looks very white on mammography – and so does cancer.
So who exactly should get supplemental MRI and/or ultrasound? Women who have dense breasts and more than one risk factor for breast cancer. Risk factors include a having a known or suspected breast cancer gene mutation, prior radiation therapy to the chest area, prominent family history of breast cancer, prior atypical biopsy and extremely dense breasts. Its best to review your history and risk factors with your doctor.
To learn more about whether a breast MRI or screening ultrasound is right for you, talk to your doctor or call us for more information any time at 604-709-8522. Or visit us on the web.