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Research paper on “Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)”

Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

This research proposaldiscussesmy area of interest, which is Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and how it is poised to become the next ‘gold standard’ in breast screening, by dethroning mammography, which currently occupies such an eminent status. At the same time the proposal also tries highlighting the importance of NOT using Breast MRI as a screening tool for women already having a history of breast cancer.

In a layman’s language, “cancer is a group of diseases that develop on account of an uncontrolled growth of the body cells that spread into the body’s tissues. Breast cancer can start in the breast tissue, breast milk ducts or breast lobules(milk sacks), and can be both non-invasive, if the cancer cells stay in the ducts and lobules of the breast, andinvasive, if they spread into the surrounding tissue” (Australian Government, 2009).Some startling statistics shed light on the gravity of the ailment. “Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer diagnosed in females in Australia with 12,567 cases diagnosed in 2007 itself and is also the leading cause of cancer-related deaths amongst females. Currently, everyday 36 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and one in every nine women will be diagnosed with it by the age of 85 years. Further, “the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia increased from 5,289 in 1982 to 12,614 in 2006, and this number is reportedly expected to register a 22% increase by 2015 with an estimated 15,409 women anticipated to be diagnosed with it” (Australian Government, 2011).Despite the seriousness surrounding the situation, “early detection of the ailment can increase the likelihood of effective treatment and cure, though in reality the incidences of such timely detection are very small” (Australian Government, 2009). Some of the early screening and detection methods to reduce mortality rates include, “breast awareness by the woman herself with respect to changes in their look and feel, clinical breast examination of an asymptomatic woman (woman without breast changes) by a medical professional, screening mammography and breast MRI to detect the cancer at an early stage” (Australian Government, 2009). However, out of these screening mammography and breast MRI are the two most widely used methods, since “meta-analyses and controlled trials conducted in Russia and China have shown no difference in the size or stage of breast cancers at diagnosis or in the number of deaths from breast cancers of women taught to use a systematic approach to breast self-examination by publicly organized health campaigns as compared to those who did not receive such training. Further, the applicability of these trials in Australia is questionable because of a low probability of finding a suitable control group that is not aware of breast self-examination, because more than 50% of breast cancers amongst Australian women are diagnosed after a breast change investigated by themselves or their doctors. Thus, though, it is evident that women can find breast changes due to early breast cancer, there is no evidence to conclude about the efficacy of one self-examination technique over another” (Australian Government, 2009).

The title of my proposed research study would be, Breast MRI would become the next gold standard in breast screening and dethrone Mammography from this currently enjoyed eminent position. The main purpose and aim of this research study is to prove the superiority of Breast MRI as a screening and detection tool over Mammography and project it as the next wave in the world of oncology diagnosis and treatment by comparing the relative strengths and weaknesses of both the tools in the light of empirical medical research literature. Contemporary medical profession is debating the efficacy of both mammography & breast MRI in reducing the mortality rates of breast cancer patients and trying to prove the potential of one over the other. “Population-based mammographic screening is the best early detection method available for reducing breast cancer deaths, as evident from its strongest benefits found amongst women aged 50-69 years, since at this age the breasts usually decrease in density, especially after menopause, thereby, increasing the effectiveness of mammograms, which is not possible in case of younger women due to high density of their breast tissue” (Australian Government, 2009).”Mammography makes use of ionizing radiation to image breast tissue. The examination is performed by compressing the breast firmly between a plastic plate and an x-ray cassette that contains a special x-ray film. The Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) enacted by the Congress in 1982, mandates all facilities performing mammography to be U.S. FDA certified. Advocates of mammography confidently opine about its ability to detect the smallest of the breast cancers not palpated on physical examination and can even find ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a non-invasive condition, as cited by numerous uncontrolled trials that have documented its potential to diagnose small, early-stage breast cancers, including those having a…


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