Got Breasts?


The goal is for all people with breasts to have more knowledge on their options when it comes to breast health screenings.

The hope is by providing this information, you can make the best-informed decision for your own body and your own health.

The vision is empowered  patient-centered advocates for 'Best Practices' (which is not the same as 'standard of care'). 

Early Detection

When screening/detecting cancer,  EARLIER is WAAAAAY better. 

A typical mammogram is the oldest of screening tools, and a limited one compared to what is available now.

Not all breast cancer is the same: The two current 'main' types of are Ductal (now also known as NST - No Specific Type) and Lobular.

You're probably familiar with NST/ductal breast cancer, which typically presents as a 'lump'. But for dense breast tissue it's routine for mammograms to miss lumps in the early stages, when they're easiest to treat. 

For lobular cancer, it is routine for mammograms to miss lesions at even later stages, when they're even harder to treat.

Detection Challenges

Screening mammograms routinely miss early NST/Ductal cancer in dense breasts.

Additionally, mammograms routinely miss early lobular cancer in any breast, regardless of density (read our founder's story, here). 

Because of these imaging issues, several states have already made breast density reporting to patients a requirement. Not sure of your status? Find out more at Dense Breast Info.

Not familiar with lobular breast cancer? Learn more here at the Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance.

Check out the EXCELLENT video from about dense breast mammogram 'masking' (watch how difficult it is to see lump in slides C and D). 

Abbreviated Breast MRI

Source: Moffit Cancer Center

"'AB-MRI' -- also called Abbreviated Breast or 'Fast' MRI -- is a shortened, cost-effective version of Full Breast MRI that screens for breast cancers not seen on mammography, for women of average risk. Both Full Breast MRI and AB-MRI have the highest cancer detection rate (CDR) of all breast imaging exams across all breast tissue categories. Traditionally, Full Breast MRI has been reserved for screening high-risk women due to cost and length of exam."

"AB-MRI is quicker and less expensive. Suitable for screening lower at-risk women. Keep in mind more than 80% of women with breast cancer DID NOT have family history of breast cancer!

AB-MRI detects biologically aggressive invasive cancers and high-grade NST/DCIS at early stages. The sensitivity of AB-MRI is comparable to that of conventional MRI.

In a recent multi-center trial, significantly more invasive breast cancers were identified in women with dense breast on AB-MRI (17/17 women; 11.8 per 1000 women) as compared to digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) (7/17 women; 4.8 per 1000 women). AB-MRI also found more cases of DCIS than DBT. As with all screening exams, false positive findings on AB-MRI are expected to occur, but the positive predictive value is within the range considered acceptable for screening mammography."

Read More On Moffit Cancer Center's Website

So What's the difference? 

The two machines use different technology, which results in difference in their accuracy and in what they can see. A mammogram is more likely to give you a false-negative: false-meaning the result looks normal even though breast cancer is present, causing delay in detection and treatment.

The other possible kind of "incorrect" result is a false-positive. A false-positive result looks abnormal even though there is no cancer in the breast. It requires more testing to confirm or rule out and monitoring in the future. 

MRI's have a much lower rate of false-negatives, and a similar rate of false-positives. 

With just a mammogram you could have cancer and not know for years (routine for lobular cancer). Even if an MRI gives a false positive - it can be stressful, but another test can quickly confirm or rule out cancer. Which would you rather have happen to you?

Read below for more details.


Overall:  More false negatives, less sensitive screening (later detection), poor for dense breasts, routinely misses lobular cancer

Overall, screening mammograms miss about 1 in 8 breast cancers. (12.5%) Women with dense breasts or lobular cancer are more likely to get false-negative results. False-negative mammograms can give women a false sense of security, thinking that they don’t have breast cancer when in fact they do (and is the highest of all screening methods).

A false-positive mammogram looks abnormal even though there is no active cancer in the breast. Abnormal results often require extra testing (MRI, diagnostic ultrasound or even a breast biopsy) The false positive rate for mammograms is 7-12% (and is the lowest of all screening methods).

Ductal Breast Cancer

Mammograms routinely miss small to medium to even large NST/ductal lesions in their early stages, if 'masked' by any  dense tissue , causing delay in treatment ad harsher treatments.

Lobular Breast Cancer

Mammograms routinely miss lobular cancer

Read More on The American Cancer Society's Website


Abbreviated MRI

Overall: Less false negatives, more sensitive screening (earlier detection), fine for dense breasts, routinely detects lobular cancer

A false positive result looks abnormal even though there is no cancer in the breast. Abnormal results often require extra testing (diagnostic ultrasound or even a breast biopsy) to find out if the change is cancer. A false-positives are often cited as the "problem" with MRI. Recent studies and improvements have changed this. The false positive rate for MRI is 5-8%

Ductal Breast Cancer

MRI are more sensitive than mammograms and can detect small ductal cancers earlier (when they are more treatable), even through dense tissue.

Lobular Breast Cancer

MRI's can see the changes in breast tissue that indicate lobular cancer.

Read More On Moffit Cancer Center's Website

FAQ - MRI vs Mammogram

Questions to bring to your provider - get the info you need.

Find locations organized by state, with their self-pay costs.

Why does the screening tool matter?

MRI's are more accurate, and can see through dense tissue, where mammograms routinely cannot.