MIAMI (CBS4) — Women who are at high risk for breast cancer are often counseled to have yearly annual breast MRIs.

The only problem with that, however, is MRIs had a high rate of false positives and that caused some needless anxiety in patients.

Now there’s a new study which has important information for those women.

The American Cancer Society recommends annual screening MRIs for women who are at high risk for breast cancer.

Sometimes an MRI will have crystal clear results but one of the anxiety provoking things about breast MRIs is that sometimes a woman is given a false positive.

“That means that the patients would get a read that they might have cancer and that that would be false that they did not have cancer,” explained radiologist Dr. Warren Reuther.

The false positive can be a gut wrenching experience.

According to a new study, there is good news for those women who have to have those yearly breast MRIs.

“What we have discovered is that a woman who comes back after a year and has another annual screening MRI, this second exam raises the sensitivity and specificity of the first exam. Therefore, there are less false positives for a repeat MRI examination of the breast,” Reuther added.

MRIs are often difficult to interpret, according to Reuther.

“There are multiple areas of abnormal enhancement within the breast. We know that these areas on the second exam which have proven to be stable are less likely to be malignant. In other words, the sensitivity and specificity of the exam are markedly elevated when you have a follow up exam.”

Simply put, there are fewer unnecessary call backs and high risk women who have yearly exams can be confident that their results are accurate.


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