Monday, May 23, 2005

More on Breast Cancer Screening

The journal The Lancet has an article this week on the use of MRI for breast cancer screening in younger, higher risk patients. The article explains that breast tissue is denser in younger women, making traditional mammography less sensitive (less able to detect tumors). The study found that MRI was more sensitive than mammography, and results were even better when the two were combined.

The full-text of the article is available by subscription only (check your library), but a a summary is provided. To access the summary, you'll need to set up a free account on the Lancet site (or look for a login on BugMeNot). There is also another summary, from HealthDay News/
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Anonymous jif said...

One big concern with MRIs, even though they may be more sensitive, is that they expose the patient to a much larger amount of radiation, which could do more harm than good. I forget the exact ratio, but it's something like 1 MRI is worth 100 x-rays in terms of exposure. For women already at high risk, that's really something to consider.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

jif - that's a valid point. It seems like there is such a complex set of factors to consider when making decisions about screening. How do you decide when to expose a woman at higher risk to more radiation in order to possibly detect more cancers?

9:00 AM  

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