Monday, November 16, 2009

MRI Scans Better for Some Women than Mammograms, 2007 News

This is a blog posts on breast cancer from my now defunct Confessions of a Jersey Goddess Blog. Normally I migrate these old post to my zombie blog at, but that doesn't get the traffic this subject deserves. I was prompted further to move these posts to this blog in light of the recent news on the U.S. Preventive Services Task force publishing a study that pushes back the age for mammograms. This government task force's guidelines are at odd with the American Cancer Society's trusted position.

Old Post Starts Here

New recommendations for MRI scans (magnetic resonance imaging) instead of mammograms for women at the highest risk for breast cancer made both ABC and CBS news last night. ABC reported that the new guidelines affect about 1.5 million women.

The report also said that women as young as 30 who have had breast cancer, have a breast cancer gene, or who have close relatives who developed breast cancer at a young age are considered high risk and these are the women for whom MRIs are recommended. (Watch video here.)

Doctors do not recommend MRIs over mammograms for the average woman at low risk because MRIs may cost as much as ten times more than mammograms, according to ABC news. Read the ABC report here. Charlie Gibson said you'll find guidelines regarding breast cancer as well as information about dealing with your insurance company at the ABC site.

Recently I wrote about a specific form of aggressive breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. I believe it's one of the types of breast cancer detected more easily by MRI scans but missed by mammograms. While writing the piece, I learned that African-American women are more at risk for aggressive forms of breast cancer such as inflammatory breast cancer.
While there are no specific risk factors, experts believe it (inflammatory breast cancer) is more common among African American women and those with a higher body mass index. Typically, IBC is diagnosed in younger women. (CNN story, 2006)
You can read about inflammatory breast cancer at this link, where you'll find links to other information and a video.


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