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UltraFast MRIs for Screening

Posted 6/27/2014

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  This is a companion piece to the blog I just posted about the value of 3D mammograms. There are two today as I expect to spend most of tomorrow on the road and then settling into our beloved little cottage in Maine. It will be hard to find computer time, and I am always concerned that the wireless connection won't be working when we get there, so getting a day ahead seems a fine idea. The lovely symmetry of these two articles makes it even better.

  This is an editorial from JCO (Journal of Clinical Oncology) that describes a new kind of breast MRI that is just being tested. It is suggests that a three minute MRI is as effective as the current 21 minute one (which really means you are in the machine for 45 minutes or so). Clearly it is also much cheaper, so that, if this holds up, it may be that breast MRIs become a more widely available and used screening for high risk women.

  Here is the start and then a link to read more:

Rethinking Breast Cancer Screening: Ultra FAST
Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Elizabeth A. Morris, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

Breast cancer screening is once again controversial. It is hard to
miss headlines stating that mammography is an imperfect screening
test,1 missing biologically aggressive cancers and picking up indolent
cancers that do not need treatment. We, who have devoted our lives to
fighting breast cancer, have long been aware of the limitations of
mammography, especially in women with extremely dense breast
tissue. Mammography, for all its limits, is still the only test proven to
decrease mortality in multiple randomized controlled trials and
through experience with population-based screening.2 Detecting
small cancers on imaging before they are palpable improves survival,
as well as treatment options.3 Yet, questions persist. 

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