The Efficacy of MRI as an Adjuvant to Traditional Mammography Essay

Bremner A.K., & Recabaren J. (2007). The Efficacy of MRI as an Adjuvant to Traditional Mammography. The American Surgeon, 73(10), 970-972.

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“The Efficacy of MRI as an Adjuvant to Traditional Mammography.”

Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of rising mortality rate in many parts of the world. It is the type of cancer that develops in breast tissues, usually occurring in the ducts and lobules of the breast. Breast cancer not only poses threats to women, but also to men, although breast cancer among the male population is rare.

            Every year, the number of the population being affected by breast cancer has been increasing. And as such, different kinds of medical and technological advances had been employed in order to easily diagnose, prevent and treat breast cancer. Studies have been done to support theories that might lead to a breakthrough in the field of breast cancer treatment.

            Other than the commonly used mammogram, a number of peer-reviewed studies have been published stating the utility of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in the diagnosis of breast cancer. Researches have discovered that the sensitivity of the machine can bring high-specificity images that can help in giving more accurate treatments compatible to the different situations of patients (Bremner and Recabaren, 2007).

            According to Bremner and Recabaren (2007), the efficacy of MRI in breast cancer cases as compared to conventional mammography have been further proven. It has included the indications as to the machine’s proper usage mentioned in other studies. The stated indications are: “1) axillary node metastases from occult primary breast cancer, 2) monitoring response to neoadjuvant hormonal therapy or chemotherapy, 3) determining ipsilateral tumor extent or presence of contralateral disease in patients with proven invasive lobular breast cancer, 4) breast cancer screening for patients at very high risk for developing breast cancer, specifically those with suspected or proven mutations of BRCA one/two, and 5) additional evaluation of suspicious clinical findings or imaging results that remain inconclusive after complete mammographic and sonographic evaluations combined with physical exam.” (Bremner and Recabaren, 2007, p.970).

            This study was aimed at looking for further usage of MR imaging in breast cancer cases other than the above-mentioned indications. Throughout this process, the records of 588 women who underwent breast MRI from November 2003-December 2006 were analyzed. A total of 467 (79%) of the initial number of subjects were excluded in accordance to the accepted MRI guidelines. Only 122 (21%) were left to continue with the study (Bremner and Recabaren, 2007).

            The remaining subjects have shown the following indications: “1) invasive 59 had ductal carcinoma; 2) 30 had ductal carcinoma in situ; 3) 13 had architectural distortion on mammogram; 4) nine had dense breast tissue; 5) breast implants; 6) four had breast tenderness; 7) bloody nipple discharge; 8) one Paget’s disease; and 9) nipple inversion” (Bremner and Recabaren, 2007, p.971).

            Each of the above subjects’ case was evaluated and checked for new treatment or clinical management as indicated by the MRI results. Any indication found in MRI that was not seen in conventional mammography determines the thesis that MRI results can change the clinical treatment or the patient’s management. The results of the study have shown that 17 of the subjects or 13.8% had a negative mammogram results, 105 (86.2%) had positive mammogram results, 23 (18.8%) had positive MRI results and 99 (81.2%) had positive results. Twenty-eight (22.9%) of the positive MR imaging results had additional findings. Twenty-five (20.3%) had treatment change and 97 (78.9%) of the subjects had none (Bremner and Recabaren, 2007).

            As such, the study concluded that the usage of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in breast cancer cases are effective (Bremner and Recabaren, 2007). It was also discovered that the number of patients with changes in clinical treatment due to MRI diagnosis is significant, thus the usage of MRI is not limited to the indication stated by previous studies. Therefore patients under indications excluded by studies before may now be further diagnosed and given proper treatment.

The results further showed significant proof that MRI delivers a different result because of its better-imaging capacity, thus enabling appropriate changes in clinical treatment or patient management (Bremner and Recabaren, 2007) that may lead to complete the process of curing the disease, quick recovery of patients or prevention of other relative diseases.

            The study is relevant as it upholds the place of MRI as one of the greatest medical and technological innovation with purposes that can be applied on different situations according to different diseases. Since it also proves that MRI can bring about changes in the results, it may also be considered as a breakthrough machine that indicates the more appropriate treatments for specific cancer cases.

            The study will also push the necessity of having MRI machines in hospitals even those not dealing with breast cancer cases while not putting aside the use of results from mammography for diagnosis. Instead it acts as a credible support for the diagnosis of breast cancer and may also be applicable for other cancer cases.