Bilateral MRI of the breast is available in our Anchorage location. Providence Imaging Center is proud to be the only accredited breast magnetic resonance imaging facility in Anchorage, and one of only two in Alaska. MRI of the breast is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound imaging but rather is a supplemental tool for detecting and staging breast cancer and other breast abnormalities.
MRI is used to:
- evaluate abnormalities detected by mammography.
- identify early breast cancer not detected through other means, especially in women at high risk for breast cancer who have been evaluated by a genetic counselor - see "Screening Breast MRI" below
- determine the integrity of breast implants.
- assess multiple tumor locations.
- look for multiple tumors prior to breast conservation surgery.
- determine how much cancer has spread beyond the surgical site after a breast biopsy or lumpectomy.
- provide additional information on a diseased breast to make treatment decisions.
By comparing breast images taken before and after contrast material injection, an MRI exam can determine:
- if there are breast abnormalities.
- whether an abnormality looks benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
- the size and location of any abnormality that looks malignant.
- the presence of enlarged lymph nodes.
MRI of the breast is not appropriate for all women. If you have questions, please contact the PIC nurse at 212-3607.
Clinicians: our Request for Special Breast Procedures order form is now available as a PDF (213 KB).
Screening Breast MRI
All breast MRI requests are reviewed by the radiologist prior to scheduling. Here is what they look for when assessing a request for screening breast MRI:
Lifetime risk of 20% or greater.*
- Recent mammogram and other breast studies as indicated
- Hormone use – all exogenous estrogen must be stopped for at least 3 months
- Menstrual cycle – MRI scan is performed on day 7-10
- Any concerns should receive a complete work-up prior to considering MRI
* Screening MRI is recommended for patients with a lifetime risk of 20% or greater. Risk must be quantified using a breast cancer risk assessment tool. Patients referred for high-risk screening MRI are asked to visit with a genetic counselor for a risk assessment. Maggie Miller is the genetic counselor at theProvidenceCancerCenter. There is no charge for her consultation. Maggie will provide a written summary of cancer risk and recommendations. This can be used if proof of medical necessity is needed. The contact phone number for Maggie Miller is 212-6874.
Our nurse can address general questions about breast MRI at 212-3607.