Many high-risk patients have access to screening breast MR, but few utilize it

Many high-risk patients have access to screening breast MR, but few utilize it

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | March 27, 2018
MRI Rad Oncology Women's Health
Why is this?
Women with a high lifetime risk of breast cancer have access to breast MR, but only a small fraction take advantage of it, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Women’s Health.

"A greater understanding is needed of why this widely available resource is not being fully utilized to screen high-risk women,” Dr. Susan G. Kornstein, editor-in-chief of the journal, said in a statement.

A team of researchers from multiple institutions performed a cross-sectional study of 422,406 women undergoing routine mammography screening at 86 Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium facilities in 2012.

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They assessed the availability and use of on-site screening breast MR services based on the patient characteristics including their lifetime risk of breast cancer, which was calculated by the National Cancer Institute’s risk assessment tool. Multivariate analyses were also performed to determine sociodemographic characteristics related to on-site screening MR use.

They found that about 44 percent of women at high lifetime risk underwent screening mammography at a facility with on-site breast MR screening, but only 6.6 percent underwent a breast MR. Notably, patients who had to travel an hour or more to the screening facility were less likely to undergo supplemental breast MR screening.

The researchers concluded that supplemental breast MR remains widely underutilized among a patient population that could benefit from earlier cancer detection. They added that future studies should investigate whether other enabling factors such as formal risk assessment and patient awareness of high lifetime breast cancer risk can boost the utilization of supplemental screening breast MR.

Joseph Blair

Screening breast MR underutilized?

April 09, 2018 09:41

I believe the answer lies in the fact that insurance companies routinely deny coverage. I am speaking from experience.

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