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Add MRI to mammogram and BSE?

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Ask-the-Expert Online Conference

Question from Maureen: I am a 53-year-old female with calculated risk 3.8% (sister and mother had breast cancer). Is there any benefit in adding MRI to annual mammogram and monthly self-exam?
Answers - Terri McHugh Statistical models have been created to estimate a woman's chance of developing breast cancer based on various personal and/or family history factors. Having a calculated risk of breast cancer of 3.8% [the risk of developing breast cancer in the next 5 years], I assume you were using the Gail Risk Assessment Model. (A value equal to or greater than 1.7% places a woman in the high-risk category for breast cancer using the Gail model.) Your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is at least 26%. Breast screening recommendations for women in this high-risk category include: monthly self-breast examination starting by age 18, clinical breast examination performed by a physician every 6 months, and annual mammogram. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends annual breast MRI in addition to annual mammogram, ideally alternating every 6 months. Additionally, chemoprevention with tamoxifen should be discussed with your treating physician(s), as it has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer in high-risk women by almost 50%.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference Breast Cancer Risk and Your Family featured Terri McHugh, D.O., and Carol Cherry, M.S.N., R.N., A.P.R.N., B.C. answering your questions about genetics and breast cancer, and how your family could be affected.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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