Why does a doctor request medical imaging during early stage breast cancer? That’s a question you might be asking after your doctor suspects you have breast cancer after having had a mammogram. Various reasons exist why an MRI would be beneficial to scope out what’s really going on internally. One major reason is based on how some breast cancer types are very elusive during imaging. Keep in mind that despite mammograms improving in their imaging quality, they can’t always detect as much detail as MRI’s can.
That’s why you shouldn’t panic if your doctor asks for an MRI. Your doctor will explain the detailed reasons why it needs to be done and what you’ll go through during the process. In some cases, it can prove that you may not have anything to worry about. And even if something is detected, the prognosis for most early-stage, non-invasive breast cancers are more than good.
Using an MRI After a Mammogram
Cancer.org reminds that an MRI can’t be used as a stand-alone screening device for breast cancer. Mammograms can detect a few things in breast cancer that MRI’s can’t. However, if a mammogram sees something suspicious, your doctor is going to need to see it in overall better clarity through an MRI. The hi-def imaging can help determine if it’s a real tumor or just a mass that’s benign. In the latter case, you’ll be assured it was just a false positive, which can be very common.
Another necessary part of having the MRI after the mammogram is determining if there’s any other cancers there. Some cancers are so small, they won’t show up on a mammogram. One of the most elusive types is a lobular carcinoma.
What to Expect During the MRI
Before the procedure can be done, prepare to be injected with a contrast material that will go into your veins through an IV. This is so anything in your breast tissue there can be highlighted. This material called gadolinium provides very detailed images that help give definitive diagnoses rather than something undetermined.
If you’ve already had breast cancer, then you may have already had an MRI before. For those that haven’t, you’ll have to lie face down inside a giant tube for close to an hour. As daunting as that sounds, your doctor will do everything possible to make you feel comfortable, including letting you play music on headphones for relaxation. You’re required to stay very still, however, during the imaging process. For more information, here is a video of a patient going through the process of getting an MRI at our facility.
For those with claustrophobia, your doctor may give you the option of a sedative to help you relax. You’ll be done before you know it and can feel confident in knowing that current imaging technology is helping you gain a full picture of what’s really going on. That’s when treatment can begin sooner rather than later for a successful outcome.
If you live in the Southern California area, consider Glendale MRI as a leader in MRI technology. We’re here to make sure your first breast imaging experience is comfortable so you don’t enhance any stress you already have.
Contact us to set an appointment for your MRI and we’ll tell you about our many convenient procedures that help make things easier. We let you manage your account online as well as letting your doctor access your images the same way. Also, ask us about how we can arrange same day appointments when your schedule is full.