Breast Cancer Coverage From Every Angle

ACS 2017: Women at Higher Risk of Breast Cancer and MRI Screening

By: Susan Reckling
Posted: Monday, October 30, 2017

Many women in one health system who were at higher risk of breast cancer chose not to have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) screening, even when the service was available to them at no cost. These new study findings were presented at the 2017 American College of Surgeons (ACS) Clinical Congress in San Diego.

“Ultimately, the question we are really trying to answer is why women at high risk for breast cancer are declining MRI screening,” stated lead study author Vance Sohn, MD, a surgical oncologist at Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Washington, in an ACS press release. “That issue is the next phase of this study.”

The investigators from Madigan Army Medical Center studied data on 1057 women who had at least a 20% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. Based on their high-risk status, MRI screening was offered between 2015 and 2016.

Overall, 23% (247 women) underwent MRI screening. Furthermore, just 15% of the women with a 20% to 24% lifetime risk of breast cancer had an MRI; 36% of women with a 20% to 39% risk sought an MRI; and 50% of the women with more than a 40% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer chose to undergo recommended screening.

Moreover, Dr. Sohn did not think their study findings were unique to the military. “In fact, I imagine our compliance rate is even higher than most.”