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The importance of preoperative breast MRI for patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer

      The use of preoperative breast magnetic resonance imaging (bMRI) for patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer has been criticized for increasing the number of therapeutic mastectomies performed, as well as increasing the cost of treatment. The purpose of this report is to examine one surgeon's practice and to describe the MRI findings for patients with breast cancer to determine if those findings changed the therapeutic options for those patients in. Data were collected prospectively between August 2003 and January 2006 for patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Diagnoses were made by core biopsy or fine-needle aspiration; all lesions were intact at the time of MRI. Twenty-five percent of patients were found to have previously occult, but suspicious lesions on MRI that required additional diagnostic evaluation, including ultrasound, core biopsy, excisional biopsy, or any combination; for approximately half of these patients, a separate cancer was confirmed. For most of these patients, the new lesion was ipsilateral and multicentric, and most required mastectomy. For the remaining 75% of patients, MRI confirmed the index lesion was the only area of concern, and appropriate surgical treatment was completed. Preoperative bMRI for patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer identified previously occult and separate tumors in 13% of patients, resulting in surgical treatment change for many.
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