MRI may be twice as sensitive as mammography in detecting some subtle breast cancers, and is used to screen women considered high risk. This sophisticated technology uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to image tissue. MRI is also helpful in the setting of a newly diagnosed breast cancer to guide pre-operative planning, and is the optimal method for evaluating breast implant integrity. As with ultrasound, there is no radiation exposure.
The American Cancer Society recommends annual breast MRI screening in conjunction with mammography for women with a 20% or greater lifetime risk of breast cancer This includes some women with a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer, women who have had radiation treatment to the chest, and women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Breast MRI may also be useful as a screening tool for women with a lifetime risk of 15% to 20%, which also includes women with a personal history of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), or atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH), and women who have dense or heterogeneous breasts when viewed by mammograms.
Advances in computer technology have helped improve the accuracy and sensitivity of mammography and breast MRI. CMI uses the latest technology to evaluate breast images and locate abnormalities that may be missed by traditional techniques. However, it is important to note that not all cancers that are shown by mammography are demonstrated on MRI.