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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

tralateral refers to the opposite breast where cancer was not diagnosed.

They concluded that postmenopausal status was the only statistically significant predictor of contralateral cancer detected by MRI. In 72 of the 425 women, MRI detected a suspicious lesion. A follow-up biopsy showed that 16 (22 percent) of the 72 women had contralateral breast cancer (stage 0-1) that had not been detected with typical screening methods. Of the 16 women diagnosed with a contralateral cancer, seven were 70 or older.

The researchers undertook the study, they say, because to their knowledge, no published studies in the medical literature that have examined the use of MRI to screen contralateral breasts in women diagnosed with breast cancer have included an analysis of women 70 and older.

It makes sense to look at women of this age, they say. Studies have shown that MRI of the breast has a higher cancer detection rate than clinical breast examination and mammography alone in women at high risk for developing breast cancer, according to Dr. Bernard. He added that women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer are at 2-to-6 times increased risk for developing a secondary, contralateral breast cancer, compared to women at average risk. "So the combination of older age and a personal breast cancer history possibly makes women aged 70 years or older with newly diagnosed breast cancer at even higher risk for developing a contralateral breast cancer," he says.

Dr. Bernard acknowledges that the routine use of breast MRI in all patients with a history of breast cancer at initial diagnosis is controversial, as is its use in elderly patients. But he says the findings from this study may help clarify the debate because it suggests that postmenopausal patients have the highest prevalence of contralateral breast cancer identified only by MRI, and not by mammogram or physical examination. "This could impact health care costs by limiting screening MRI to those
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Contact: Kevin Punsky
punsky.kevin@mayo.edu
904-953-2299
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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