Breast MRI Crucial for Determining Cancer Treatment

Most women who have been diagnosed with cancer don't get a breast MRI. That could be a problem. Recent studies have shown that women with breast cancer who do get a breast MRI done receive additional information about their illness which can significantly alter the appropriate course of treatment. Approximately two out of every ten women who choose to get breast magnetic resonance imaging before treating their cancer discover that important details about their bodies were missed during the standard imaging (such as mammography) which initially detected the cancer. Most commonly, women with breast cancer who get the breast MRI will find that there is more cancer than they previously thought. Additional cancer in the same breast, cancerous tumors in the second breast or tumors that are actually larger than they appeared in initial screening are all changes that might be seen with the breast MRI. Early detection of this information can help doctors and patients to make informed decisions about treatment. These decisions have the potential to be life-saving. For example, a patient may discover that additional cancer is present and should be treated immediately. This prevents the need for further treatments down the line which would have been the case if no breast MRI was done to reveal this cancer. In other cases, the treatment may be more aggressive or more widespread across the body in order to get rid of the cancer before it spreads. The more information that we have about our bodies and our illnesses, the better prepared we are to make decisions that protect our health. Most women know that they should be doing breast self-exams and getting annual mammograms to screen for breast cancer. These recent studies have demonstrated the importance of continuing to look deeper using the breast MRI if indeed cancer appears to be present. Question of the Day: If you were diagnosed with breast cancer, would you ask that your doctor take the extra step and order a breast MRI?

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