News Flash > Women's Health


Women Refusing Life-Saving MRIs

Reported January 01, 2010

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Too many women at high risk of breast cancer are refusing MRIs, new research reveals.

Doctors recommend women at high risk of breast cancer start screening younger because they often develop it at an earlier age compared to the average women. However, younger women -- those below 50 -- tend to have denser breast tissue, which hampers the effectiveness of mammography. MRI has been shown to accurately identify tumors missed by mammography and ultrasound.

In a recent study, 42 percent of women eligible for an MRI breast screening were found to decline undergoing the exam. A quarter of the women who refused the exam said they did not want it for fear of claustrophobia. Eighteen percent blamed it on time constraints, and 12 percent cited financial concerns about their insurance.



"Given that MRI is promoted as a very sensitive test to identify early breast cancer, we were surprised that barely half of women at increased risk for breast cancer would undergo MRI even when offered at no cost," Wendie A. Berg, M.D., Ph.D., a breast imaging specialist at American Radiology Services, Johns Hopkins, Green Spring Station in Lutherville, Md., was quoted as saying. "This suggests the need for alternative methods, such as ultrasound, to help screen women at increased risk for breast cancer."

The American Cancer Society recommends some groups of high-risk women should beginning screening with MRI and mammogram at age 30.

Source: Radiology, December 2009