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MRI as a diagnostic tool for breast cancer

Mammography has been proven to be a sensitive screening tool for the detection of early breast cancer; however, the increased tissue density// of young women can complicate mammographic interpretation.

As the sensitivity of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the detection of breast cancer is high and virtually uncompromised by increased breast density, there is, an interest in using breast MRI as a screening tool.

A recent study, published in the October issue of The American Journal of Surgery was conducted with the aim to determine the value of breast MRI in detection of mammographically occult breast cancers, particularly in premenopausal women.

For the study, an MRI unit dedicated to breast imaging was obtained by the Cleveland Clinic Breast Center in November 2003. After that time, breast MRIs were obtained for many reasons including the detection of cancer in high-risk premenopausal patients, assessment of implant rupture, determination of the extent of disease, and response to primary induction chemotherapy.

Data were available for 89 women with biopsy-proven breast cancer who had undergone both mammography and breast MRI. Variables evaluated included menopausal status and radiographic findings. Of the 89 women in the study, 69 were perimenopausal or postmenopausal and 20 were premenopausal at the time of diagnosis. The malignant lesion was identified on mammography and MRI for a majority of patients. One third of premenopausal women had negative mammography but positive MRI findings.

Findings from this study support a role for breast MRI in supplementing conventional mammography for early detection of breast cancer in premenopausal women.

Medindia on breast cancer: The treatment of breast cancer involves local and systematic treatment. Treatment to the whole body involves systematic treatment, and local treatment involves treatment of breast area and the lymph nodes near it. Sometimes treatment may include more than one type of local or systematic treatment.

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