Should you have a Breast MRI before surgery?

That’s a question that many people newly-diagnosed with breast cancer might be asking their surgeon.  Currently, there isn’t definitive data to show whether having a breast MRI before surgery changes a patient’s outcome, so it isn’t easy for your surgeon to give you a definite yes or no to that question.

The debate going on isn’t about whether MRI finds more cancer, but instead, whether it improves diagnostic accuracy and therefore outcomes (such as reducing the number of surgeries or cancer recurrances, and whether survival rates improve).

A study done at Yale University and presented at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual conference in 2011 showed that re-operation rates were dramatically reduced when breast MRI was used.  But that is just one study, and there are others out there that show no difference.

So, why do we do breast MRI?  At Canada Diagnostic, we offer breast MRI as a way for patients and their surgeons to get the clearest picture possible about the size, shape and location of their cancer.  A small percentage of women will have a tiny cancer in their other breast that wasn’t seen on mammography or ultrasound, and a number may have a tumour that is actually larger or more extensive than what was seen on their diagnostic imaging.  This information is helpful when planning surgery (lumpectomy and breast-conserving surgery) and can help reduce the need for a follow-up surgery.    For some patients, the peace of mind that comes from knowing the “full picture” is important.

The role of breast MRI in the management of breast cancer is probably going to start changing in the coming years.  As we learn more and more about the biology of the different types of breast cancer, researchers may begin to develop imaging sequences based on the particular type of tumour the patient has.

If you would like to learn more about breast MRI and whether it might be right for you, call us today at 604-709-8522 or drop us an email at info@canadadiagnostic.com And don’t forget to have your annual mammogram if you are a woman over 40 – its still the best first-line tool we have for finding cancer early.

  Filed under: Categories: Breast Cancer, Breast MRI, and MRI Scans. Tags: breast, breast cancer, breast mri, breast surgery, and early detection.
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#1 Heart Disease Predictor

Coronary Artery  Calcium (CAC) – detected by a simple CT screening scan, is the most important predictor of cardiovascular events according to a new analysis published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers found that elevated CAC scores were better predictors of cardiovascular events than six other tests commonly used as risk markers for heart disease for patients with intermediate risk of heart disease.

Today, cardiovascular disease prevention focuses on treating at-risk people based on their overall cardiovascular risk.  Your Doctor may use a tool called the Framingham risk score as a first step in determining your risk profile.  This is a good overall took, but might not be that precise for people with higher than normal risk factors.  So, other risk models can be used in addition to Framingham to get a more accurate picture.

When researchers compared different types of risk markers, they found Coronary Artery Calcium scores to be the best at better clarifying  cardiovascular risk  prediction for intermediate-risk people.

Canada Diagnostic has been offering Coronary Artery Calcium scores since 2002.  It is a quick and accurate way to look at your coronary arteries to detect hard placque, an early indicator of atherosclerosis.  Learn more about the scan and our other atherosclerosis risk screening tests by clicking here.

Call us anytime to find out more about our diagnostic scanning (MRI, CT and Ultrasound) as well as our screening exams.  We would be happy to answer any questions you might have.  604-709-8522.

  Filed under: Categories: Cardiovascular and Heart Scans. Tags: Calcium Score, coronary calcium, heart disease, heart scan, risk factors, and screening exam.
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