Affordable breast MRI protocol improving detection in women with dense breasts

Via Radiology, based in Seattle, is the first in the Pacific Northwest to offer a new type of MRI screening for breast cancer patients.

Dense-breasted patients are now able to reap the benefits from the Abbreviated Breast MRI (AB-MR) because of its quick performance and affordability, compared to the high cost of breast MRI. On top of that, this new protocol is just as accurate as the traditional exam, making it hard for mammography and breast ultrasound to match up to its abilities.

“On average, mammograms detect four to five cancers per 1,000 women screened, whereas breast MRI detects 16 to 23 more cancers per 1,000 women screened, the lower end of the range being in women who are at average risk of getting breast cancer,” said Craig Hanson, MD, president and CEO of Via Radiology and medical director of Seattle Breast Center at the University of Washington Medicine/Northwest Hospital and Medical Center. "Breast ultrasound is also no match for AB-Mr. It only detects two to three more cancers per 1,000 average risked women screened, and at the cost of a high false positive rate, meaning lots of unnecessary biopsies.”

AB-MR runs at less than $500 to screen women, and with 50 percent of women over age 40 having dense breast tissue, this new technology could aid in helping to find early breast cancer in these women, increasing chances of survival.