While breast cancer is one of the most common cancer types among Indian females, reserving about 13.5% of all cancers, breast cancer detection and treatment at its early stage stand requisite to combat such a life-threatening disease.
I must say, studying what experts say, there’s no better than an MRI scan for breast cancer detection! Most of your doctors would agree to it and even recommend so!
An MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It is a nuclear imaging study that helps detect various diseases in your body, even the most complex ones, like cancer.
In the case of breast cancer, specifically, your doctor prescribes the Breast or Chest MRI scan.
What Is A Breast or Chest MRI Scan, and How Does It Work?
A type of MRI scan that involves screening your breast tissues, organs, tissues, and blood vessels in your chest, the rib cage, and all that. Like any other MRI modality, this imaging test is non-invasive, painless, and safe. The scan uses computed-generated radio waves and magnets to map your internal breast or chest anatomy on the computer screen.
The magnets are right in the giant machine, attached to the walls of the semi-circular tube. They create a strong magnetic field and persuade the body protons to align with it. Once they do so and move out of position, the radio waves appear in the play, waiting to send a signal to the monitor the moment they go back.
That’s how your MRI scan occurs, within 30 to 45 minutes. However, if the images are not clear enough to locate the abnormal growth in your breast, especially for those having dense breasts, the scan shall require 30 to 45 minutes more. During this phase, you shall receive a contrast administration to enhance the image clarity and secure a better view of cancer. The contrast administration is either oral or intravenous, depending on the healthcare providers.
When Do Doctors Ask For An MRI Scan For Breast Cancer Detection, and Why?
- Can you feel a lump anywhere in or around your breast? Does it feel hard like a lemon seed?
- Is there a sudden change in one of your breast sizes or a swelling? Or, maybe your breast turning flat?
- Have you noticed whether any area of your breast does feel different from the rest? Does it seem dense or thick?
- Do you have a dimple in your breast that doesn’t tend to go away for a long?
- Does your breast skin color appear orange-peeled, reddish-purple, pink, or bruised? Does it also feel hot? Maybe like a burning sensation on your breast skin?
- Can you feel any crusted surface near your nipples?
- Did you notice any pus-like discharge from your nipples in the last few days?
- Is there an open wound in your breast skin? A kind of infection, having leakage and a typically foul smell?
Red Alert! These may indicate breast cancer development. And you must consult your doctor shortly! It is when your doctor can examine your health condition and track your medical history, thereupon prescribing an MRI scan to see –
- Whether there is any abnormal growth or tumors in your breast,
- Whether the tumor is cancerous or benign,
- How large the irregular lesion, tumor, or cancer is,
- The shape of the abnormal benign or cancerous mass,
- The amount of calcification,
- Whether the breast cancer is local or metastatic,
- How far the cancer has spread, and hence,
- What is the cancer stage?
Why Is An MRI Considered The Gold Standard Method For Breast Cancer Diagnosis?
Perhaps, when it comes to breast cancer diagnosis, experts say MRI is the gold-standard diagnostic modality!
No Risks Or Complications
The scanning process in the MRI does not expose you to any ionizing radiation, unlike an X-ray scan or CT (Computed Tomography). Hence, there’s no room for health complications or risks that you may experience in a traditional breast X-ray or CT.
The contrast dye may have side effects like skin rashes, redness, swelling, fatigue, or nausea. But, they are temporary and unlikely to escalate. Once the dye exits your body, they too!
Higher Diagnostic Accuracy
An MRI scan is the most efficient tool to date in screening cancers of the soft tissues like your breast. Even when a mammogram (or breast x-ray) fails to detect early cancers in the dense breast, an MRI can!
The Radiological Society of North America notes that an MRI scan is 77% to 96% sensitive in detecting breast cancer. According to a research study by National Center For Biotechnology Information (NCBI), an MRI scan for breast cancer detection holds 86.9% diagnostic accuracy, which is higher than a mammogram or CT. Its specificity ranges from around 83% to 98.4%.
In fact, MRI is the scanning modality to detect about 90% of all breast cancer cases in recent times!
Eliminating The Need For Unnecessary Biopsies
Research works have proven that an MRI scan can erase the requirement of an invasive biopsy into your breast to collect tissue samples of your cancer. An MRI scan is enough to reveal necessary information about your breast cancer so your doctor can initiate the treatment soon.
However, your doctor may sometime prefer using an MRI-guided biopsy to detect breast cancers.
Preparation of An MRI Scan For Breast Cancer Detection: A Quick Guide!
There is no such special preparation that you need to take before an MRI scan, and that is; yet another significant side of this modality. You can eat your regular meal, drink water, exercise mildly, and appear for your MRI appointment.
However, talk to the healthcare providers before your scan if you have any kind of allergies or if you take any medication for heart or kidney diseases. It is because the involvement of contrast dye can cause side effects, as already mentioned, especially in these cases.
Also, if you have claustrophobia, you can ask your doctor to prescribe sedatives, as inside the MRI scanner, you may have anxiety due to the less space and constant loud noise the machine makes. You can even opt for ear cuffs, eye masks, and blankets instead of sedatives to ease yourself down during the scan. Experts say they work well!
An MRI scan for breast cancer detection is a simple process, and you can easily pursue it amidst your tight work schedule on office days. All you have to do is book an appointment prior.
To book a breast MRI in Chandigarh from the best radiology labs in the city, the ones NABL-accredited, straightaway go to www.mrichandigarh.com and book your scan, as per your schedule, that too, at a discounted price!