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Breast Cancer

Atypical cells on MRI

01/25/2010

Question:

How does the MRI interpret the presence of atypical cells in the breast? does it show them as cancer cells? or show them as suspicious cells? can it distinguish between atypical changes and already developed cancer cells? Thank you so much

Answer:

MRI is a very sensitive exam. It picks up many abnormalities. However it is not always very specific. MRI cannot always distinguish between atypical cells and small areas of cancer. MRI is best at picking up invasive breast cancer yet may miss some cases of early stage low grade breast cancer (Ductal Carcinoma in Situ). Benign growths in the breast can also show up on MRI, which can lead to biopsies that are negative for cancer. MRI is an established useful tool that is used along with Mammography and ultrasound.

I hope that helps.

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Response by:

Donna  Plecha, MD Donna Plecha, MD
Assistant Professor of Radiology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University