Research yields alternative for high-risk group

Good news and bad news. MRI combined with mammography has been shown to be better at detecting breast tumors in young women with high risk, but it also results in more false positives than X-ray alone. Here are the facts:

“About 1% of women carry mutations in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes; they have an 85% lifetime risk of breast cancer.

“Contrast-enhanced MRI scans identify more tumors in high-risk women than X-ray mammography; together, the modalities are synergistic.

Contrast-enhanced MRI scans are especially adept at finding tumors in women with mutations in the BRCA1 gene”

Okay, if your other option is to have both breasts removed before you even have any sign of the disease, would you opt to live with the chance of being periodically terrified by false positives?

Given the human being’s natural attachment to his or her body parts, the answer for many women in that 1%-high-risk-group would be yes. Thanks to today’s improved breast enhancement techniques, women who choose preventive surgery don’t have to live with the same devastation as in previous decades.

Now at least there’s a third option. This is research working as it should.