Do digital mammography and MRIs improve health outcomes?

Alice Domar
Digital mammography and MRI have been offered as improvements over conventional mammography, but although they find more “stuff,” they don’t pass the important test of improving health outcomes. They don’t save any more lives, probably because of the biology of breast cancer tumors. Some tumors grow at a moderate rate; these are the cancers for which mammography appears to be most useful, allowing us to catch them before it is too late and treat them successfully. But other tumors are very aggressive and invasive; unfortunately, finding these tumors early has a limited effect on our ability to treat them. Still others grow very slowly and don’t always turn into full-blown cancer. A tool that finds more of the faster slow-growing cancers may not have a big impact on survival rates, but it will definitely make its owners a lot of money.
Live a Little!: Breaking the Rules Won't Break Your Health

More About this Book

Live a Little!: Breaking the Rules Won't Break Your Health

Later to bed, munching some fries, makes a girl pretty healthy and wise. . . .Yes, it’s true—more or less. Why? Women do need to eat healthier, exercise, get adequate sleep, and take preventive...

Continue Learning about Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

What would my doctor use a prostate MRI for?
UCLA HealthUCLA Health
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) aids in evaluation of the prostate in up to four different ways: an...
More Answers
How can magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) help diagnose stroke?
Natalia S. Rost, MDNatalia S. Rost, MD
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field to take highly detailed pictures of ...
More Answers
Why do I need to stay still during an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)?
Jumo HealthJumo Health
It’s very important to stay still during an MRI or the picture will be blurry. There will be time to...
More Answers
What to Expect From an MRI
What to Expect From an MRI

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.