Pros & Cons Of A Breast MRI Over 3D Mammograms

Posted on: 25 July 2019

As a woman, you know that getting screened for breast cancer is an important thing for your health. However, there are multiple options for breast cancer screening these days. Two of those options are breast MRIs and 3D mammograms. There are pros and cons that breast MRIs have over 3D mammograms. Here is a look at those perks and disadvantages to help you decide which procedure is the best for you and your situation.

Pro: An MRI does not expose the body to radiation. 

One of the concerns related to mammograms is the fact that the body is exposed to radiation during the procedure. An MRI does not use radiation to capture images of the breast tissue. If you have specific concerns about radiation exposure, an MRI of the breast tissue may be the better solution. A study published in 2016 states that 125 of every 100,000 women who get a mammogram every year could develop radiation-induced breast cancer. 

Con: Breast MRIs are more expensive than 3D mammograms. 

The biggest downfall of getting an MRI examination of the breasts is the fact that the procedure is costly. The equipment used is larger, the procedure can take longer, and the equipment is more expensive to operate. Therefore, mammograms are a much more affordable way to screen for breast cancer. 

Pro: MRIs are more capable of providing effective visuals for proper diagnosis. 

Breast imaging with an MRI demonstrates a very high sensitivity level of as much as 93 to 100 percent, according to a study published in The Journal of Thoracic Disease. MRIs do a good job of scanning breast tissue that is denser and harder to read through a traditional mammogram. Of course, 3D mammograms do a much better job of detecting areas of concern than a traditional mammogram, but an MRI is the most effective option. 

Con: MRIs are far more likely to produce a false-positive result. 

On the other hand, the MRI is so sensitive that it detects almost every little spot or lesion within the breast tissue, and it does not do a good job of showing differentiating characteristics between a perfectly benign spot and an actual cancerous tumor. Therefore, it is not uncommon for women to get an MRI and for there to be something found that will need further examination even if there is technically nothing there. 3D mammograms are far more capable of providing accurate readings and fewer false positives.