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Topic: What does cancer look like on an MRI?

Forum: Stage IV and Metastatic Breast Cancer ONLY — A place for those managing the ups & downs of a Stage IV/metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. Please respect that this forum is for Stage IV members only or those posting on behalf of a Stage IV patient. There is a separate forum for Stage IV Caregivers/Family in "Support and Community Connections".

Posted on: Mar 28, 2011 06:46PM

Lynn1 wrote:

I'm more of a "visual learning" person as opposed to reading.  I can understand much better and faster if you show me.  So, I decided I wanted to SEE my MRI results. I wanted to see for myself what "numerous" meant since they were not specific....is that 5 or 50?!  So I call and they were very helpful...I picked up a CD of all my scan images this afternoon.  So I pop it in, they come up, I'm scanning through....um, what AM I even looking at here?  Duh, I should have known I couldn't "read" it.  I guess I thought they'd have it circled or something...lol!  (kidding of course). 

So....does anyone know what it looks like?  Is it a black spot or white or what??  I've tried to Google it, but not getting much help there.....

~Lynn ER+, HER2- Bone mets: sternum, pelvis, spine, ribs....it's everywhere. Started Afinitor/Femara 10/15/12
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Mar 28, 2011 06:56PM Fitztwins wrote:

I went through my CT/PET with my Rad oncologist. Usually it is white or opaque. Not sure on a MRI. I tried ready my xray of my pelvis, I didn't see jack that screamed. Cancer here.

Enjoy Every Sandwich. Dx 12/12/2004, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 2, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 1/18/2005 Mastectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary, Left; Reconstruction (left): Free TRAM flap Chemotherapy 1/31/2005 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 4/30/2005 Breast, Lymph nodes Targeted Therapy 5/31/2005 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 12/31/2005 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2008 Aromasin (exemestane) Targeted Therapy 6/30/2008 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 5/4/2010 Tykerb (lapatinib) Hormonal Therapy 8/1/2012 Hormonal Therapy 6/14/2013 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Mar 28, 2011 07:00PM Bernicky wrote:

I can only go by experience on head MRI scans.

Simply put, the really bright white spots are bad. The darker the area the better. The brighter the area the less good thing are. Of course any scan should be interpreted by a professional but seriously you probably have already realized when looking at the scans what you were looking at it just takes a while to sink in. Sorry to hear about the numerous diagnosis.

Denis - www.bernicky.com/blog - Life its own self.
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Mar 29, 2011 07:31AM Lynn1 wrote:

Thank you both!  Ya know, I was kidding about them having circled it or something, but after I looked more closely, there were 2 slides where they had drawn a line to measure the mets!!  I just didn't see them the first time I browsed through.  You're right, the 2 larger mets are white/opaque.  However, there are several small darker colored "dots" that I can see - I have to assume those are the "numerous small mets" they are referring to because it just doesn't look "normal" and they were not picked up on the PET so that sorta goes with what Denis said about darker being better.  There are quite a few of them....more than 5, but not 50.  Maybe a dozen.  Dammit!  :-\

~Lynn ER+, HER2- Bone mets: sternum, pelvis, spine, ribs....it's everywhere. Started Afinitor/Femara 10/15/12
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Mar 29, 2011 08:00AM , edited Mar 29, 2011 08:07AM by cmhartley

Lynn, don't quote me on this but as I can remember on my liver MRI using EOVIST (also known as Primovist)  which is a very effective contrast agent (so effective that they see my tumors with this and nothing shows up on my PET/CT scans) the malignant lesions are hypoechoic/hypointense(dark) vs surrounding tissue which is brighter whereas benign lesions are hyperechoic/hyperintense (lighter) as compared to surrounding tissues.  I think this is  reversed on the noncontrast images.  However, because MRI is done in very specific phases there is more that goes into it than just this.  This specific contrast agent  (EOVIST/Primovist) by the way is very accurate at detecting "previously undetected" tumors <1cm as well as ruling out those that are benign.  I hope this helps.  My hepatologist highly recommends the use of this contrast agent as he has found inumerable tumors in people that were not otherwise found.

There is a good link for Primovist that explains how malignant tumors are detected but you really need to understand how MRI works:

http://www.liver-imaging.com/scripts/pages/en/detecting_and_characterizing_liver_lesions/malignant_lesions/metastatic_liver_tumor/index.php

Cat

Original Diagnosis: 3/08/2005 Stage IIb IDC, ER+, PR-, HER2-, 3/11 nodes positive; Recurrence 10/22/2009 extensive bone mets; 11/20/2010 diffuse liver mets; 1/2013: grade 4 liver cirrhosis, portal hypertension and esophageal varicies Chemotherapy 4/5/2005 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 10/4/2005 Mastectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary, Left Hormonal Therapy 9/23/2009 Dx 10/22/2009, IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 3/11 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 1/15/2010 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 3/1/2010 Aromasin (exemestane) Targeted Therapy 5/15/2010 Avastin (bevacizumab) Chemotherapy 5/20/2010 Taxol (paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 3/22/2011 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 7/1/2012 Xeloda (capecitabine) Chemotherapy 2/13/2013 Halaven (eribulin) Chemotherapy 12/6/2013 Gemzar (gemcitabine) Radiation Therapy 1/2/2014 Brain
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Apr 8, 2011 07:33PM cmhartley wrote:

Bump I think this is how to do it

Original Diagnosis: 3/08/2005 Stage IIb IDC, ER+, PR-, HER2-, 3/11 nodes positive; Recurrence 10/22/2009 extensive bone mets; 11/20/2010 diffuse liver mets; 1/2013: grade 4 liver cirrhosis, portal hypertension and esophageal varicies Chemotherapy 4/5/2005 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 10/4/2005 Mastectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary, Left Hormonal Therapy 9/23/2009 Dx 10/22/2009, IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 3/11 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 1/15/2010 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 3/1/2010 Aromasin (exemestane) Targeted Therapy 5/15/2010 Avastin (bevacizumab) Chemotherapy 5/20/2010 Taxol (paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 3/22/2011 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 7/1/2012 Xeloda (capecitabine) Chemotherapy 2/13/2013 Halaven (eribulin) Chemotherapy 12/6/2013 Gemzar (gemcitabine) Radiation Therapy 1/2/2014 Brain