ANCHOR LEAD: MRI MAY BE THE BEST WAY TO IMAGE BREASTS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Breast density has turned out to be an important factor in assessing a woman’s risk of breast cancer, a fact reiterated in a recent Journal of the National Cancer Institute study suggesting that prevention is possible, at least for some women. Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, says that means MRI should likely be used.
PARK: MRI has emerged as a screening tool that allows physicians to see suspicious lesions earlier or better than regular mammography. Another thing that’s come up is digital mammography, which uses the aid of computer software to help subtract out dense areas of the breast on mammography, so all of these technologies may improve our ability to screen women at risk better than standard mammography and do it more frequently. The caveat to that is that’s also associated with an increased risk of biopsies that are often what we call false positives. :32
Clearly, seeking a center where breast assessments are routine offers the best chance for early detection. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.