According to a study published in Radiology, breast MRI is seen as the superior screening method for detecting breast cancer in women with dense breasts.
In the U.S. 47% of women have dense breasts, which is an independent risk factor of breast cancer.
Although screening mammography can detect up to 98% of cancer in fatty breasts, there are higher chances that breast cancer can be more easily missed in dense breasts, resulting in a negative mammogram.
Vivianne Freitas, study co-author, said “Breast cancer masses appear white on a mammogram, and dense tissue also appears white, which makes finding breast cancers within dense breast tissue harder for radiologists".
As a result, women with dense breast should undergo supplemental screening.
Researchers conducted a meta-analysis on 22 studies that included 261,233 patients screened for breast cancer to evaluate which screening method was the most beneficial for women with dense breasts. Of the 261,233 patients included, 132, 166 had dense breasts as well as a negative mammogram.
Of this total, 541 breast cancers were initially missed on mammography but were then detected using supplemental screening methods.
It was found that breast MRI was the superior screening method with the potential to detect even the smallest of cancers. Overall, there was not a large enough difference between the other supplemental screening methods.
Dr, Freitas confirmed this finding, stating, “MRI is far superior in terms of cancer detection compared to hand-held ultrasound, automated ultrasound and digital breast tomosynthesis”.
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