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Breast MRI Key Technology Now Available in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. This year alone, over 200,000 women in our country will develop the disease – which is why early and accurate detection is so important.

According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. This year alone, over 200,000 women in our country will develop the disease – which is why early and accurate detection is so important.

One of the latest tools to aid in early detection of the disease is 3 Tesla Breast MRI technology.

“The 3T Breast MRI is the most advanced technology available for the early detection of cancer,” says Betty Meyer, Director of Sanford Breast Health Institute. “For women with a high risk of developing breast cancer, a 3T MRI can identify breast abnormalities while they are still too small to be seen by other diagnostic methods. For those already diagnosed with the disease, a 3T Breast MRI can guide treatment decisions and confirm the effectiveness of chemotherapy.”

What is Breast MRI?

Breast MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure to determine what is inside the breast without having to do surgery or flatten the breast (as in mammography). The exam produces hundreds of 3D images which can be used for early detection of breast cancer, or to measure the effectiveness of breast cancer treatments. To achieve this extraordinary image quality, patients receive an injection of a contrast agent through an IV which highlights the blood vessel network associated with a breast tumor. The use of the contrast agent makes a Breast MRI exam more sensitive than other diagnostic tools.

“The 3T Breast MRI complements our comprehensive approach to breast cancer screening,” adds Meyer.
3T Breast MRI Complements Mammography.

A 3T Breast MRI does not replace mammography. Mammography remains the FDA approved imaging tool to screen women for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends 3T Breast MRI exams, in addition to mammography, for women with a high risk of developing breast cancer, or those already diagnosed with the disease.

A 3T Breast MRI should not replace appropriate standard screening and diagnostic tools, including:

  • Breast self-examination 
  • Physical examination of the breast by a qualified professional 
  • Screening and diagnostic mammography

How does Breast MRI differ from other screening techniques?

Unlike conventional mammography, x-ray examinations and CT scans, MRI does not depend on radiation. Instead, radio waves are utilized in a strong magnetic field creating signals that are detected by the MRI scanner. MRI exams can clearly identify the contrast between an abnormality in the breast and normal tissue with 10 – 100 times greater clarity than what is obtained with x-rays.

A 3T Breast MRI exam takes approximately one hour to complete and requires the patient lay face down on a comfortable positioning aid.

To learn more about 3T Breast MRI or other breast cancer screening options, call Sanford Breast Health Institute at (605) 328-5244.