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MRI finds tumors in second breast of women diagnosed with cancer in one breast, Mayo researchers say
Date:3/8/2010

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Postmenopausal women, including those over 70 years old, who have been newly diagnosed with cancer in one breast have higher cancer detection rates when the other breast is scanned for tumors with MRI, compared to premenopausal women, say researchers at the Mayo Clinic campus in Florida.

They found that 3.8 percent of 425 women had breast cancer in the undiagnosed breast that had not been found with a clinical or mammographic examination; all were postmenopausal. In these women, detecting and treating cancer in both breasts at the same time may save costs, patient stress, and the potential toxicity that may come from having to treat cancer later in the second breast once it is discovered, the researchers say in the March/April issue of The Breast Journal.

Of particular interest to the researchers is their finding that patients 70 and older had a higher prevalence of cancer detected in the second breast by MRI than did younger patients in the study. MRI detected a cancer in the second breast in 5.4 percent of 129 elderly women included in the study.

"Our findings are not really surprising because we know that the risk of breast cancer increases as age increases," says the study's lead investigator, Johnny Ray Bernard Jr., M.D., a Radiation Oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. "Elderly women in good health potentially benefit from earlier detection, and we believe that screening of the undiagnosed breast with MRI should be considered in all postmenopausal women diagnosed with a breast cancer."

Since 2003, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville has offered MRI imaging of both breasts in women with newly diagnosed breast cancer. In this study, Mayo researchers retrospectively reviewed the records of 425 women who underwent bilateral breast MRI between 2003 and 2007. The goal was to determine the prevalence of "contralateral" cancer detected by MRI, but not found by mammogram or clinical breast exams. Con
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Contact: Kevin Punsky
punsky.kevin@mayo.edu
904-953-2299
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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