MRI Scans Questioned for Breast Cancer
Reported September 08, 2008
(Ivanhoe Newswire) — MRIs may be doing more harm than good in women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
Researchers at the Fox Chase Cancer Center reviewed the medical records of 577 breast cancer patients, including 130 who had MRIs following their diagnosis. They found MRIs delayed treatment and lead to more mastectomies.
The investigators explain many women today opt for an MRI because it can help doctors determine the best course of treatment in some cases. However, the test is highly sensitive, which translates to more false positives. In some cases, women are directed to have a mastectomy based on the MRI results when later pathology reports show they could have easily had a lumpectomy instead.
In addition, having an MRI causes women to wait, on average, about three weeks before starting treatment for their breast cancer.
MRI is a valuable tool in some women, but without evidence that routine pre-treatment MRI improves a womans outcome, its disadvantages suggest that it should not be a routine part of patient evaluation for treatment, study author Richard J. Bleicher, M.D., F.A.C.S., was quoted as saying. Greater efforts to define MRIs limitations and use are needed.
SOURCE: Presented at the ASCO Breast Cancer Symposium, September 6, 2008