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Topic: What does a breast MRI show?

Forum: Just Diagnosed — Discuss next steps, options, and resources.

Posted on: Apr 3, 2012 07:55AM

JoanQuilts wrote:

I'm not newly diagnosed (that wonderful day took place back in December) but have been wondering about my breast MRI.

I had it before surgery and it confirmed the DCI and IDC in my left breast and saw nothing in the right.  But what can it show?  Enlarged lymph nodes?  Does it diagnose cancer or just show areas of worry?  I read somewhere that it can show trouble in other organs in the body?  Can someone please give me a primer on breast MRIs?

Thank you!

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Posts 1 - 22 (22 total)

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Apr 3, 2012 08:33AM lago wrote:

It's just a more sensitive scan. It's a newer tool for diagnosis for breast cancer. Lots of false positives because it's more sensitive but just another tool. It helps the surgeon see in more detail what's going on in there. Some breast cancers like LCIS are not spotted on a mammo or US. That's what happened to me. They found LCIS in my "good" breast.

MRIs are more expensive than mammos or US.

DONE!! alturl.com/3o9ni • Tattoos 2.7.2012 • Nipples 10.6.2011 • Exchange 6.24.2011 • Chemo 1.18. 2011 • BMX 8.31.2010

Dx 7/13/2010, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 0/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Apr 3, 2012 08:34AM Moderators wrote:

Hi Joan,

From the main Breastcancer.org site, the page on Breast MRI for Diagnosis and Monitoring may be helpful!

HTH,

The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...

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Apr 3, 2012 09:06AM jmf424 wrote:

Facing MRI tomorrow and I am having crushing anxiety!  Have a Rx for xanax but still terrified...don't know if I can get through it!  Feel like a baby!  Any thought/

Dx 10/1994, DCIS, 2cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/22 nodes, ER+/PR+Dx 4/2/2012, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIb, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 11/04/1998 Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 12/10/1998 Cytoxan, fluorouracil, methotrexateRadiation Therapy 05/07/1999 ExternalChemotherapy 04/27/2012 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolSurgery 09/14/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left)Hormonal Therapy 09/28/2012 AromasinRadiation Therapy 10/16/2012 External
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Apr 3, 2012 09:43AM J9W wrote:

JFM424,  the MRI isn't all that bad. The worse part was laying still the whole time - make sure you take a bathroom break before you begin.  At least with the breast MRI, you're not all the way into a machine like tunnel and that helps a lot.

DCIS, grade 3, 2009. Right mastectomy, tamoxifen for only 11 months.

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Apr 3, 2012 10:00AM, edited Apr 3, 2012 10:02AM by claireinaz

I just had and MRI (Friday).  Other than being bored for a while, lying on my stomach with my boobs hanging through two holes (your head is supported, your arms are over your head) it wasn't bad.  The  music that they play through headphones wasn't working, so I had to listen to the machine pound and screech. It sounded like techno-pop.

It shows areas of involvement in the breasts only. It's not a full-body MRI.   And highly accurate, which is why they order them.

They do put in an IV so they can take images with contrast, but I didn't feel the IV or the contrast going in at all. My nurse was really good. And my MRI came back completely clear--I found out yesterday. Waiting was arful, though. Whoo was I relieved after that call.

9/29/11 ILC, 2 c. stage II grade 1, ER/PR+ HER2-, 6/11 nodes, lumpectomy, DDAC x 4, Taxol x 12, 33 rads, Tamoxifen to arimidex, BMX/immed recon 7/3/13 "God supposedly gives us only what we can handle. God must think I'm a badass."

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Apr 3, 2012 10:15AM beth1965 wrote:

Hi - my MRI was able to show my doctor i had many cancerous nodes. First i was supposed to get the sentinal one where they check a few (i am not sure if i am saying that right) But as soon as she saw the MRI results she said i needed all my lymph nodes removed. She was right. So i know it definately shows nodes info

Dx 1/18/2012, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IIIc, Grade 3, 17/25 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 02/02/1965 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection, Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Chemotherapy 04/11/2012 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolRadiation Therapy 08/15/2012 ExternalHormonal Therapy 09/28/2012 Tamoxifen
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Apr 3, 2012 10:23AM Maja2213 wrote:

The surgeon used my MRI results to confirm her original plan to do a sentinal node biopsy.  She said nothing looked suspicious in my arm pit.  She and two of the radiologists at the hospital used the results to look for any other suspicious areas. My original surgery was expanded to include three other suspicious areas of microcalcifications that they had not been able to see before.  They were all benign.

Dx 10/1/2010, IDC, <1cm, Stage Ia, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Apr 3, 2012 10:45AM, edited Apr 3, 2012 10:47AM by Chris13

My nodes look clear on my two MRIs--have to ask bs how many she plans to remove--but wondering if clear looking nodes usually are clear?

"To attend to the moment is to attend to eternity." 2 ILC tumors 1.6. 1/4 positive nodes. Oncotypes 8 & 15. No rads/chemo.

Dx 2/24/2012, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 2/24/2012, ILC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 05/01/2012 Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Right)Surgery 05/01/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Hormonal Therapy 08/01/2012 Arimidex
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Apr 3, 2012 12:21PM invisible2 wrote:

jmf - I was an anxious as you about my MRI.  I have had several over the years (prob about 6 of them) for knee, back/neck disc problems and knew the closed space would be a problem.  I always freak out.  So I took a xanax and had my husband drive me.  Boy was I surprised to find out that the breast MRI machine is not as long as the regular ones.  Plus, I was laying on my stomach (boobs through holes, nice picture eh) so I couldn't see the top of the tube and how close it was to me. That eliminated the claustrophobia for me.  I actually fell asleep!  I spent so much time worrying about it and I found it to be the easiest MRI I've ever done. 

Dx 2/27/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 05/17/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Both)Surgery 05/17/2012 Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Surgery 05/31/2012 Reconstruction (Both)Chemotherapy 07/17/2012 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxotereHormonal Therapy 10/10/2012 FemaraSurgery 12/03/2012 Reconstruction (Right)Surgery 06/06/2013 Reconstruction: Latissimus Dorsi flap (Right)Surgery 09/03/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)
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Apr 3, 2012 12:23PM JoanQuilts wrote:

Cathy - I had exactly the same experience with my breast MRI.  It was much more open than the back/head MRIs I've had in the past.  I, too, fell asleep!

Diagnosed 10/92, lumpectomy, CMF. Diagnosed with second primary 12/11 (19 years later!). . BMX with TEs to implants; 6 rounds of TC.

Dx 12/6/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Surgery 01/06/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement, Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Chemotherapy 02/06/2012 Cytoxan, Taxotere
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Apr 3, 2012 08:06PM kayb wrote:

My MRI showed a quadrant of DCIS in my "good" breast that didn't show up on mammo, but I had extremely dense breasts. It also made the tumor board decide I needed a biopsy of an inframammary node. Fortunately, that came back clean. I did end up with a BMX since I had IDC on one side and DCIS in the other.

One of my doctors said that a breast MRI shows the top of the liver. Is that what you were thinking about with "other organs"?

DX May/2010, synchronous bilateral cancer, triple positive

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Apr 3, 2012 08:10PM JoanQuilts wrote:

Yes, that's what I meant by "other organs," Hillck.

Diagnosed 10/92, lumpectomy, CMF. Diagnosed with second primary 12/11 (19 years later!). . BMX with TEs to implants; 6 rounds of TC.

Dx 12/6/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Surgery 01/06/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement, Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Chemotherapy 02/06/2012 Cytoxan, Taxotere
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Apr 3, 2012 08:30PM vballmom wrote:

My MRI showed nothing suspicious in my nodes, but pathology from the SNB revealed a 4.5mm micromet.  I was nervous about being claustrophobic, but it really was no big deal. The worst part for me was the IV.

Dx 3/2/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 04/26/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 05/21/2012 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolTargeted Therapy 07/21/2012 HerceptinRadiation Therapy 10/22/2012 External
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Apr 3, 2012 09:03PM momof3boys wrote:

My one good memory of my MRI... When I walked over to the machine and looked at the spot with the two holes for my breasts, I asked "are those...." and the tech cut me off and said, "yes, they are coffee filters, we use them for liners and they fit perfectly" :-)

BMX w TE reconstruction 11/11/11, 4 TC, 3/12, 25 Rads 5/12 Tamoxifin 6/12, Prophalactic hysterectomy 12/18/12, Oncotype 16

Dx 10/14/2011, ILC, 4cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 3, 2012 09:24PM 1openheart wrote:

That is a hoot, Momof3boys!  My very first breast MRI is on Monday.  I'm a little nervous, but OK, i think.  I'm just focusing on no surprises!

"The wound is the place where the light enters you." ~ Rumi

Dx 4/28/2011, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+Surgery 06/15/2011 Mastectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left); Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent), Nipple reconstruction (Left)
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Apr 7, 2012 12:59PM nibbana wrote:

Maybe I'm a little wierd but I love MRIs. They're fun, and they don't hurt! 

You just have to be very still. 

BMX May 9, 2012, bilateral lymphedema, exposed to TCE and benzene at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, NC

Dx 4/5/2012, IDC, 3cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Hormonal Therapy 06/22/2012 Tamoxifen
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Dec 2, 2012 06:21PM AnnBR wrote:

I am new to this site having just been diagnosed with BC. Dr. ordered an MRI next week. I've read through all your posts about your experiences and have to thank EACH ONE of you for putting a smile on my face. Thank you for doing that!

Besides having a great support system of family, friends and a strong faith in the Lord, I am finding out that educating myself makes me feel in control. I am so glad I found this site. God bless every one of you.

I have BATTLE SCARS on my body...but I have a PEACE in my HEART.

Dx 11/15/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 5/22/2013, LCIS, 1cm, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 12/27/2012 Mastectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Hormonal Therapy 01/17/2013 TamoxifenSurgery 05/22/2013 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Surgery 05/22/2013 Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Surgery 04/30/2014 Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)
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Dec 8, 2012 10:42PM AnnBR wrote:

I had my MRI yesterday, wow, was it a noisy test. I asked for earphones and music as many of you suggested doing, but they were broken and new ones were not available at this time. The technologist was apologetic and very sweet. She talked me through the entire process and I almost fell asleep. Now the waiting game begins as I meet with my oncologist next week. I am counting on a clean MRI but I will deal with whatever I am facing. I am so glad I found this site, it has helped me immensely.

I have BATTLE SCARS on my body...but I have a PEACE in my HEART.

Dx 11/15/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 5/22/2013, LCIS, 1cm, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 12/27/2012 Mastectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Hormonal Therapy 01/17/2013 TamoxifenSurgery 05/22/2013 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Surgery 05/22/2013 Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Surgery 04/30/2014 Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)
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Dec 17, 2012 10:56PM Stephfsch2012 wrote:

I am 36, maternal aunt survived bc, mother diagnosed last week. Had a regular mammogram done already didn't see anything but said have very dense breasts. I emailed my dr about mothers results. She said I have 2 options a more extensive mammogram with sonogram or a breast MRI....my choice. Any recommendations? I don't know which to choose which will be better. Almost want to look into voluntary double mastectomy with reconstruction have 2 daughters I don't want to put through this. Thanks!

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Dec 18, 2012 02:21PM Momine wrote:

Steph, take the MRI.

Dx 6/1/2011, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIb, Grade 2, 7/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy 06/20/2011 Cytoxan, Ellence, fluorouracil, TaxotereSurgery 09/13/2011 Mastectomy (Both)Radiation Therapy 01/09/2012 ExternalSurgery 03/08/2012 Prophylactic Ovary Removal (Both)Hormonal Therapy 04/01/2012 Femara
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Dec 18, 2012 03:00PM corgi09 wrote:

I have very dense breasts also.  They found the largest tumor during a 4 hr mammo/us. After a biopsy and cancer confirmation I had an MRI, another diagnostic mammo and an MRI guided 4 biopsy session.  None of those came back as cancer.  However, the original MRI showed all 10 of the very small tumors that were in that breast.  They say there many false positives with MRIs; that wasn't true in my case.  If you are worried push for the MRI.  The more information and/or base line they have the better for you.

Dx 10/8/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage Ib, Grade 2, 2/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 18, 2012 08:29PM quinreitz wrote:

My wife will undergo an MRI today. I am scared for her.:(