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MRI Screening for Women at High Risk

You have heard of getting a mammogram to screen for breast cancer, but should you also get an MRI? The American Cancer Society (ACS) is advising women with a higher risk of developing breast cancer disease to have an MRI along with their yearly mammogram. Done together, these tests improve the chance of detecting breast cancer in high-risk women. As with most cancers, early detection greatly improves treatment outcome.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer or Simple Mastitis?

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare form of breast cancer. Only 1 to 5% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are diagnosed with this very aggressive form of it, and it usually strikes younger women (45-50 years old). IBC involves the lymphatic system of the breast forming "sheets" or "nests" rather than a solid tumor like many other forms of cancer. As a result, it is more difficult for doctors to diagnose.

Conventional Mammography and Digital Imaging

Mammography is essentially a low-dose x-ray used to examine breasts. A mammogram is helpful in the diagnosis of breast cancer, and other breast disease in women. Although the procedure may cause some temporary pain for some women (from compressing the breast), it is not invasive and the benefits far outweigh any potential discomfort.

How Is Breast Cancer Found?

Breast cancer is discovered by screening patients, with or without symptoms. Screening involves a series of tests to determine if a person has any evidence of breast cancer. Ideally, screening is done on a regular basis since early detection improves the chance for successful treatment. The guidelines developed by the American Cancer Society (ACS) improve a patient's chances of finding breast cancer at an early stage.

The Benefits of Early Detection

Breast cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in women, second only to lung cancer in cancer-related deaths among women. In 2009, almost 180,000 women will discover they have breast cancer. What can you do about this? Early detection is key. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the chance treatment will be successful.

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