-- Randy Dotinga
TUESDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- New research finds that
compared to mammograms, MRI screenings for breast cancer saved
money used for diagnosis and boosted the likelihood that high-risk,
underserved women who were specially targeted would return for
But there's a big catch. Researchers were able to reduce the
cost of an MRI scan to $649 on average -- compared to the usual
$3,500 -- thanks to a grant. As a result, the cost per diagnosis
was cheaper -- $21,561 for cancers found using MRI and $37,375 for
those found using mammography.
"What we need is to lower the cost of MRI, and maybe that will happen as we do more of them," lead researcher Dr. Anne C. Ford, assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University Medical Center, said in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research.
In the study, the researchers compared two groups of women, all
of whom were uninsured or underinsured. One group included 299
women with general risk factors who received mammography, and the
other included 299 high-risk, underserved women who underwent MRI
The mammography screenings detected one case of breast cancer,
while the MRI screenings detected nine.
"In an underserved population, using this model, it is cost effective to screen with MRI because we found more breast cancers with MRI than we did with mammography in this population," Ford explained in the news release. "If you truly target high-risk women with MRIs, you can find the cancers, and you can find them early."
Three-quarters of women who received mammography followed up
with screenings compared to 90 percent of those who underwent MRI
screenings, the investigators found.
Results of the study were scheduled to be released Tuesday at
the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the
Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Washington D.C. Because the
study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions
should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed
For more about
breast cancer, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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