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Many High-Risk Women Refuse Breast MRI
Date:12/22/2009

h a high risk of getting breast cancer, which is defined as more than a 20 percent lifetime risk. For instance, those with the genetic mutation known as BRCA1 or 2 would be candidates for getting both.

In the study, some of the women were at intermediate, not high risk, of breast cancer, Smith noted.

But Berg said that there is a gray area about what to do with intermediate-risk women as far as adding MRI to their screening program. "There is some evidence that it's of value for intermediate-risk women," she explained.

Berg said genetic counseling would be of benefit for some women who are unsure if they are at very high risk of breast cancer. For instance, women who may benefit from genetic counseling and possibly testing for the BRCA1 or 2 mutations include those who are first-degree relatives of a known BRCA mutation carrier and those who have a male family member with breast cancer.

"I think the researchers need to understand a little better what is behind the rejection, and how it might be overcome," Smith said.

Berg suspects that once awareness of the value of MRI is raised and more women know it increases cancer detection, there will be a greater interest in getting the test.

More information

To learn more about MRI, visit American College of Radiology.



SOURCES: Wendie Berg, M.D., Ph.D., breast imaging specialist, American Radiology Service, Johns Hopkins at Green Spring Station, Lutherville, Md.; Robert Smith, Ph.D., director, cancer screening, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; January 2010 Radiology


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