should breast cancer patients skip the pre-op MRI?
MRIs produce a much clearer image than X-rays and
ultrasound, and are recommended for detecting early tumors in women at increase risk for breast cancer, but routinely using the technology once any woman is diagnosed may lead to more radical surgery without any benefits, the researchers said in the Annals of Surgery.
They found that about 26 percent of women who had a
pre-operative MRI to help determine the extent and severity of their tumor ended up having their entire breast removed, compared to about 18 percent of those whose surgeons only used traditional methods of characterizing the cancer.
"I wasn't surprised by the results at all. What I am
surprised by is the strength of the data," said Monica Morrow, the study's senior author and the chief of breast service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Because MRIs are more sensitive than mammograms, some doctors think they are a good tool for identifying the precise outlines of cancerous tissue. Others, however, have begun to question whether the imaging led surgeons to remove more breast tissue than necessary.
Moreover, women who have MRIs before breast surgery seem to be no less likely to need a second surgery to remove additional cancerous tissue. A study published in September, for instance, found that among more than 300 women who underwent breast cancer surgery, just as many of those who had an MRI before
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