One in eight women will face breast cancer at some point in their lives. To protect yourself against the effects of this very serious illness, breast cancer screening is essential. Every woman should get routine breast cancer screenings on an annual basis from her 40th birthday onward. But high-risk women should consider more frequent screenings, and in particular, they may want to opt for an MRI over a traditional mammogram.
For your health, here’s what you need to know about screening for breast cancer with MRIs and a look at what it means to be high risk.
The Importance of Breast Cancer Screening
Breast cancer screening is critical because it helps to detect tumors when they are very small and potentially even too small to be found in a self-exam. The earlier you find cancers, the easier they are to treat and the more likely you are to survive. In fact, when breast cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is 100%. In contrast, if you don’t find breast cancer until it has spread to the lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 85%, and if the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, the five-year survival rate drops to 27%.
High-Risk for Breast Cancer
Unfortunately, some women have a higher risk of facing breast cancer than the average woman. If you have a heightened risk of breast cancer, you should start your screenings earlier. Your doctor can let you know the right age for your situation, but typically, you may want to start screenings at age 30. Additionally, you should turn to an MRI because it produces more detailed pictures than a mammogram, and it only uses limited radiation.
If any of the following statements apply to you, you may be at a heightened risk of facing breast cancer.
- You have a personal history of breast cancer
- You were diagnosed with breast cancer before your 50th birthday
- You were treated with breast-conserving therapy
- You have dense breast tissue
- You are a black woman — although black and white women have similar rates of breast cancer, black women are two times more likely to die from the condition, underscoring the need for earlier detection
- You are of Ashkenazi Jewish descendant
- You have the BRCA1 mutation which gives you a 50% to 80% chance of getting breast cancer
- You have the BRCA2 mutation which correlates to 45% risk of breast cancer
- You have other known genetic mutations linked to breast cancer, such as TP53, CHEK2, PTEN, CDH1, STK11, or others
- You’ve gone through chest or mantle radiation due to an issue such as Hodgkin lymphoma — risk of breast cancer particularly increases eight years after radiation
- You’ve been diagnosed with early estrogen receptor-positive cancers
Accelerated Breast Cancer Screening
Using MRI technology in breast cancer screening used to be reserved just for high-risk cases, but now, any woman can get an Accelerated Breast MRI. To set up an appointment, contact us at American Health Imaging today or contact your doctor to learn more.
We focus just on imaging so our machines tend to be more advanced, our prices lower, and our staff more thorough than going to a hospital. Calculate your MRI cost and find your nearest AHI center.