Exploring whether FAST MRI could detect aggressive breast cancers earlier than mammography

Author(s): Dr Lyn Jones, Dr Rebecca Geach

Hospital: Bristol Breast Care Centre, Southmead Hospital

Reference: RAD Magazine, 49, 583,26-28


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Delays to breast cancer surgery as short as four weeks cost lives because treatments are effective and early detection improves survival. Early detection also makes it less likely that a mastectomy or chemotherapy are needed.

The NHS population-risk screening programme offers women aged 50-70 a three-yearly mammogram but is beset by two conflicting types of harm: overdiagnosis and underdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis is the detection of cancers that progress slowly and if left undetected are unlikely to cause harm during the screening client’s lifetime. Underdiagnosis is the failure to detect biologically aggressive cancers that will later present at a more advanced stage, which are associated with greater treatment morbidity and worse patient outcomes.

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