Mammograms are recommended for all women 40 and older, but sometimes an MRI can provide doctors with life saving information as well.
Dr. Taletha Smith says that breast MRIs can detect some cancers not visible through mammography.
"they can also determine how large a breast cancer is," says Smith, "this is important because it can help the surgeon decide what procedure to recommend."
Breast MRIs are not recommended for all patients, however, because there are some downsides to the test.
"They can have false positives," says Smith, "they can find something suspicious that is not cancerous that can lead to unnecessary biopsies and patient anxiety."
The American College of Radiology has developed guidelines for who should get breast MRIs. The list includes women with a strong family history, so it is important to be specific with your doctor.
These MRIs still do not take the place of yearly mammograms for women 40 and over.
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