MRI question: My wife had a mammogram... - Breast Cancer Haven

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MRI question


My wife had a mammogram that detected a small mass in one of her breasts in October of 2017. She was then instructed to have a sonogram, which she did a week later, which verified the mammogram finding to be a 5 mm mass. She was then told to wait six months and have another mammogram to see if the mass has grown. That mammogram happened a few days ago and we were happy to find out that the mass is still the same size. After that conclusion our family doctor now wants her to have an MRI of the breast and we have a meeting with him in a week to discuss this procedure.

My wife is a mess and just wants to know so my questions are;

1) Why would he want yet another very expensive image test to verify what two other image tests have already verified?

2) Can an MRI determine if it is cancerous?

3) I’ve done some reading about this procedure and unless the hospital has a special MRI machine for breasts the MRI is not going to give much more information than the mammogram or sonogram. Is this correct?

4) Can’t we just request a biopsy?

Thank you very much in advance.


5 Replies

Hi Bob. I went through similar things to your wife. I am glad I did have the scans as in my case with the MRI, and I dont want to worry you by saying this - however my MRI found two more tumours very deep in my breast close to my ribs. None of these were found in any of the other scans. Please ensure that your wife attends as the experts would not request them 'willy nilly'. They (The Surgeons) have to make sure all bases are covered and that there are no hidden surprises. I wish your wife well in her up and coming treatment and has a full and lasting recovery.

Kind Regards


PS: I would also request a biopsy for them to determine if it is cancer, if so what type. All the best 💐

MRIs can give different and sometimes better info. You are correct that the kind of machine makes a difference, New machines are better than older models. You should be able to get a biopsy, only sure way to know if cancer and what kind.

I agree with Haven2255,a biopsy will determine what they are looking at and that will probably be the next step,MRI scan will give a better idea of size and where the mass is but all this is good news that they are being very thorough and methodical so they can make a good treatment plan.Have faith in the doctors and don't panic about it,ask questions at appointments, it all helps.Wishing your wife well.vicky.

Hello there

My first mammogram showed an area of dark mass which led to an appointment for a biopsy which was accompanied by an ultrasound which directed the radiographer to the dark mass. This tested positive for cancer which led to an mri. I was scanned in the same mri machine as used for my 2 neck mri’s and my knee mri. The mri gives more detail or better images or whatever than a mammogram. In my case because cancerous cells had been found the mri was to identify any further mass which could be yet more potential cancerous cells. Which it did! This led to a 2nd biopsy of this 2nd mass which again tested positive for cancer.

So in short and by using my experience as a guide here are my answers to your questions:

1 - it is my uneducated layman’s understanding that an mri provides a better image than a mammogram.

2 - it is my uneducated layman’s understanding that only a biopsy can determine if a mass is cancerous.

3 - again in my experience a standard mri machine can be used for this extra image detail.

4 - if I were you I would request a biopsy.

I have posted details about my breast mri previously if reading that is of any value to you and your wife. It was a dignified and private and sensitive as it could be, nothing about that side of things bothered me. Again as it was my 4th mri I knew what to expect - the noises reminded me of giant locusts.....(one too many horror films....😅). You can take your own cd in to be played but it isn’t loud enough to fully drown out the mri noises but it does help. I think I eve dozed during my mri.....

Please forgive me to say how to suck eggs but do put these questions to your medical team too who are better educated than me - never ever be afraid of asking them anything; this is your first time experiencing all these things whereas they have plenty of experience so are in the best position to answer questions. Or phone MacMillan as they proved invaluably informative to me and reassured me a lot.

Finally do try and trust your medical team - something I struggled with without actually realising it at the time (diagnosed Oct 2016, surgery Dec 2016, chemo and rads 2017). I understand a lot better now a year on.

Wishing you both satisfactory answers to your questions and a peaceful and healthy outcome to these investigations.

Sending hugs 🤗🤗🤗

Deb x

First of all Thank You all for your answers, advice and especially for your compassionate thoughts. As it turns out our insurance, Anthem, declined covering the MRI so we now have a biopsy scheduled for two weeks so we will finally know. God Bless you all and your journey, whatever that may be.

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