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Topic: Does the imaging center make a difference?

Forum: Not Diagnosed With a Recurrence or Metastases but Concerned —

Meet others concerned about developing a recurrence or metastases.

Posted on: Feb 25, 2020 05:08PM

BellasMomToo wrote:

I was dx'd over 3 years ago. I've only had one breast MRI which was after my dx. Since then, I've had annual mammograms (of my remaining breast) and USs. All of these have taken place at my hospital, which is convenient and all results show up in my patient portal. The mammograms/US take place in their "women's center".

During my last mammogram/US in October 2019, a spot was found in my remaining breast (Birads4) and I had a biopsy. Fortunately it was benign, but since then my MO mentioned that I should start alternating between breast MRIs and mammograms every 6 months. I have very dense breast.

I just made an appt at my hospital for the breast MRI and was shocked at the price. My share would be at least $1550 (they will probably tack on addl charges). So just for fun I called an imaging center (which is right across the street from my hospital) and was told that my share would only be about $600. (I then used the BCBS cost estimator which basically confirmed the two different prices. Both are in-network.)

If I'm expected to get MRIs every year, an extra $1000 a year is going to add up. (Since my dx I've had various health issues so I've met my oop requirement every year. I was hoping that 2020 would be a good year and I wouldn't reach my oop max of $3600)

So I'm wondering if it's worth the extra cost to stay with my hospital. And if not, is it ok if I get the MRI at the 'other' imaging center and continue to get the mammograms/US at the hospital? Does the imaging center make a difference, meaning would a hospital's center be better at catching a recurrence?


Dx'd at age 56. Tumor found by my annual mammogram -- cancer can grow fast! Dx 10/6/2016, IDC, Left, 2cm, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Dx 10/6/2016, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, ER+/PR- Targeted Therapy 11/2/2016 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 11/2/2016 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 11/2/2016 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 3/27/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left
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Feb 25, 2020 06:43PM Spookiesmom wrote:

I wouldn’t think so, they both should have well qualified staff on board.


Reoccurrence 3-19. Dx IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3
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Feb 25, 2020 07:43PM smc123 wrote:

This is a really interesting question and I have wondered about it myself. Recently, I had an MRI done outside of my hospital/treatment center but I took the CD to my treatment center/hospital for a second look. I was charged a minimal amount for the second opinion.

Dx 2/1/2016, IDC, Left, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/23/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/1/2016 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Radiation Therapy 10/4/2016 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 4/3/2017 Reconstruction (left): Saline implant; Reconstruction (right): Saline implant
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Feb 25, 2020 08:17PM MinusTwo wrote:

Sorry, but I think the quality of care - precision of imaging in this case - does vary from location to location. If you like & trust your doc, see what he thinks. Or see if you can stick with ULS and do MRI only every 2 years.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Feb 25, 2020 11:41PM - edited Feb 25, 2020 11:42PM by Khakitag

My SO said it does make a difference because at an imaging center, the radiologist reads all different MRIs, but at a Breast center all their radiologist reads is breast MRIs which can be trickier to read. If you can have your radiologist from your breast center read one taken elsewhere, that may be as good solution.

Shari taglavore Surgery 1/4/2020 Lumpectomy: Left Dx 1/14/2020, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+
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Feb 26, 2020 12:48AM BellasMomToo wrote:

Thanks for all the replies. The breast MRI at my hospital wouldn't be done in their "women's center" -- it would be done in the regular radiology dept. so I don't know if the radiologist would be more skilled at reading breast MRIs than the radiologist at the other imaging center.

I don't know how easy it would be to have a 2nd read at my hospital (and they would probably charge me an arm and a leg).

I guess I should just pay the extra $ and get it done at my hospital. And if it's clear (knocking on wood), maybe I can get MRIs less frequently.

DJMAMMO: I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this question.


Dx'd at age 56. Tumor found by my annual mammogram -- cancer can grow fast! Dx 10/6/2016, IDC, Left, 2cm, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Dx 10/6/2016, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, ER+/PR- Targeted Therapy 11/2/2016 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 11/2/2016 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 11/2/2016 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 3/27/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left
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Mar 5, 2020 04:28PM KBeee wrote:

There are often much higher costs for MRIs at hospitals...just because it is at a hospital. You can always have someone else read it.

Karen. Dx 8/5/2013, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 8/26/2013 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 9/20/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 12/12/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 1/23/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 1/29/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 2/2/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Dx 2/25/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 3, 0/13 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/25/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Prophylactic ovary removal Chemotherapy 3/31/2015 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/25/2015 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole)

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