For women with breast cancer, early detection can often mean the difference between life and death. While mammography and breast ultrasound are the staples of breast cancer detection today, magnetic resonance imaging of the breast is showing its value in detecting lesions in dense breasts, scar tissue from previous surgery or implants, as well as in evaluating chemotherapy and residual tumors following lumpectomy.
Although breast MRI holds promise for finding breast lesions early, it still has a long road ahead before it can claim easy accessibility, and large-scale use and interpretation by clinicians who have a clear understanding of what the images are telling them.
False positives and a lack of standards notwithstanding, breast MRI is being used as a diagnostic tool for women who are suspected of or known to have breast cancer, who have undergone treatment and need to know the effectiveness of that treatment and for detecting cancers that are palpable but may have been missed by mammography. As an adjunct tool to mammography and ultrasound, breast MRI is an emerging technology garnering increasing interest.
Please refer to the July 2001 issue for the complete story. For information on article reprints, contact Martin St. Denis