What difference does an MRI Really make?
What does an AB-MRI screening catch early, that a routine mammogram does not?
False Positive? False Negative?
Would You Rather?
Would you rather your doctor find a lump, and it turns out to be nothing? Or find out you've had cancer for years and it wasn't seen and treated early?
False positive? -- A good thing.
It means you do not have cancer but your doctor recognized something that merited further testing - imaging or even a biopsy. And it could still be important! Clinical studies strongly suggest that what shows on an MRI may develop into something abnormal. And with each screening MRI, false positives decrease.
False negative? -- A bad thing.
This is when your breast screenings appear normal, even when there is breast cancer. False negatives because of ineffective screening can go on for years, while the tumor(s) keep growing.
AB-MRI's 'see' Early Breast Cancer through ALL breast tissue.
Dense tissue can hide large and small tumors - even mildly dense breasts. Fatty tissue appears black on a mammogram. Both thick tissue and cancer show up as white. Only 10% of women have fatty breasts. The rest of us have some area of dense tissue.
Ultrasounds 'see' ductal cancer in dense breasts. AB-MRI's 'see' BOTH ductal and lobular cancer in any kind of breast tissue.
If your doctor does not tell you what kind of tissue you have - ASK.
Mammograms do NOT see into dense breast tissue
Mammograms Don't 'see' Early Lobular Breast Cancer or Into Dense Breasts
What screening sees BOTH Dense breasts and Lobular Breast Cancer EARLY?
Full Breast MRI and AB-MRI already have good track records for seeing into dense tissue, and are the ONLY scans that consistently see lobular cancer early. Newer 3-D mammography (also called breast tomosynthesis) MAY provide a better way of seeing through dense breast tissue for ductal cancer. They are still evaluating it. It can eventually find lobular cancer - usually at stage 3, around 6cm.
Stand Your Ground!
Many providers will not recommend an MRI with a clear mammogram. Despite numerous reports on their limitations, mammograms are still cited as the "gold standard" - a catchphrase you will see and hear frequently in breast health. While mammograms may be the "standard of care," what you WANT are best practices, not what the insurance companies have decided is an acceptable level of risk vs. cost.
Here are some of the common roadblocks, and some responses to help you overcome them to get the screening and care you need.
(Provided by mydensitymatters.org)