Trinity Health System became the first hospital in the area to utilize its MRI unit for breast evaluations.

October 26, 2011 12:51 p.m.

Trinity Health System became the first hospital in the area to utilize its MRI unit for breast evaluations.  Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.  Several MRI tests have been performed over the past week at Trinity.

According to Keith Murdock, Trinity Spokesman, “We are very excited to offer this valuable tool to further our already state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities.  Trinity Health System continues to lead the local area healthcare facilities in diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and other diseases of the breast.  This is truly a celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in month of October.”

MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, transmitted electronically, printed or copied to a CD. MRI does not use ionizing radiation or x-rays.

Detailed MR images allow Trinity physicians to better evaluate breast studies and determine the presence of certain diseases that may not be assessed adequately with other imaging methods such as x-ray, ultrasound or computed tomography also called CT or CAT scanning.

MRI of the breast offers valuable information about many breast conditions that cannot be obtained by other imaging modalities, such as mammography or ultrasound.

MRI of the breast is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound imaging but rather a supplemental tool that has many important uses, including: Screening in women at high risk for breast cancer or for women at high risk for breast cancer, typically because of a strong family history, MRI may be an appropriate tool to screen for breast cancer. A strong family history is usually a mother or sister who has had breast cancer before age 50. It can also be aunts or cousins, including relatives who have had ovarian cancer. Your radiologist or primary care doctor can look at your family history and determine if screening MRI may be appropriate for you.

MRI of the breast is also useful in determining the extent of cancer after a new diagnosis of breast cancer.  After being diagnosed with breast cancer, a breast MRI may be performed to determine how large the cancer is and whether it involves the underlying muscle or if there are other cancers in the same breast and whether there is an unsuspected cancer in the opposite breast or if there are any abnormally large lymph nodes in the armpit, which can be a sign the cancer has spread to that site.

In summary, breast MRI is the latest and best way to diagnose and treat breast cancers in the local area.

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