Because MRIs are better than mammograms at finding tumors experts began recommending MRIs for their higher risk for breast cancer women. Because there are still several types of tumors that mammograms are better at finding than MRIs, both tests are needed. However, until this new study no one knew if combining the test actually saved lives.
The results confirm that having both tests can indeed save women’s lives. After six years of follow-up care 93% of women that carry the breast cancer mutation and who also have cancer were still alive. In earlier studies after five years only 74% of the women were still alive.
“We have always assumed that if you find the cancer early, the patients will do better,” said Dr. Maxine Jochelson, director of imaging at the breast and imaging center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan (she was not involved in the study). “This is the first paper that really has taken a large number of women and shown that if you find disease earlier it does translate into some improved outcomes.”