Breast Scans Called Over-used

LONDON, Oct. 22 (UPI) — MRI scans can lead to unnecessary breast surgery because the technique is too sensitive and picks up harmless growths, an Irish expert says.

While magnetic resonance mammography is particular good at finding tumors that are hard to spot using standard X-ray mammography, one British surgeon says its routine use at an early stage could do more harm than good, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Malcolm Kell, a consultant surgeon at the Eccles Breast Screening Unit at University Hospital, Dublin, says MRM is invaluable for assessing advanced breast cancer and to assess responses to chemotherapy but said there was “no compelling evidence that this technique should be routinely used in newly diagnosed breast cancer.”

One trial of the use of MRMs in the detection of early stage breast cancer showed it failed to reduce the proportion of women requiring a second operation because initial surgery had not completely removed all potentially cancerous tissue.

Another surgeon said about one in four indications of breast cancer from MRMs was inaccurate, known as a “false positive.”

But Kefah Mokbel, a consultant breast surgeon at the London Breast Institute, said it was an essential tool for checking younger women who were at a high genetic risk of cancer.

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