MRI could enhance breast cancer screening for high-risk women

In collaboration with the Press Association

A new study has shown that magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRIs) were more effective at detecting early stages of breast cancer than traditional mammograms. The research, published in the Lancet medical journal, found that 92 per cent of cases of early breast cancer were detected by the MRI scan, whereas only 56 per cent of cases were detected by the mammogram. At a national breast centre in Germany, the researchers analysed MRIs carried out for women who were at an increased risk of breast cancer, had an abnormal mammogram, or had a normal mammogram but were particularly concerned about breast cancer. Cancer Research UK's professor of screening Stephen Duffy welcomed the research: "The results are interesting and add weight to the findings of a UK study published in 2005 which found MRI to be more sensitive than mammography to invasive cancers in women at high genetic risk." However, he called for further studies to be conducted before conclusive results could be drawn: "While this study provides further evidence of the benefit of MRI examinations in high-risk women, none of these studies has concluded that MRI should replace mammography. The consensus is that they should be used in tandem for high-risk women."