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Intermountain Health expands use of specialized MRI for detecting breast cancer

By Jamie Lampros - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Oct 3, 2023

Photo supplied, Intermountain Health

FAST MRI is a shorter version of a standard breast MRI that is designed to screen for additional breast cancers not seen through mammography.

One in eight women in the United States, on average, will develop breast cancer during their lifetime, but thanks to an increase in annual mammogram screenings, survival rates have improved dramatically.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a reminder for women to schedule their screenings.

This year, Intermountain Health has expanded its FAST MRI to more hospitals throughout the state, including McKay-Dee Hospital. The advanced screening is a vital tool for women considered to be at higher risk for developing breast cancer.

To determine their risk, a patient will take a survey before their mammogram to see if they are at higher risk, which can include a family history, genealogy and the density of breast tissue. Women who score 20 or higher are considered to be at high risk for developing breast cancer.

“I had just barely tested over and wasn’t sure if I needed the FAST MRI, but decided to do it and I’m glad I did,” said Linda Campbell, process control coordinator for MRI services at Intermountain Health.

Campbell, who also helped develop the protocols for the FAST MRI screenings, said she tested over the limit because a close family member was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I had the small tumor removed and had 15 treatments of radiation but never needed chemo because we caught it early,” she said.

The FAST MRI takes about 10 minutes and costs quite a bit less than a traditional MRI. The scans should not replace an annual mammogram, however, according to Intermountain Health physicians, because those screenings can still detect some cancers better.

Intermountain Medical Center in Murray has also opened up appointments on Saturdays all month for women who are too busy to schedule an appointment during normal office hours.

“We understand women in our community get busy taking care of day-to-day life and we don’t want them to go without this vital screening,” said Dr. Eugene Kim, medical director of the Intermountain Health Breast Care Center. “We want women to be healthy so they can be there for the people they care about and those who rely on them.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of breast cancer can include a new lump in the breast or armpit, thickening or swelling of part of the breast, irritation or dimpling breast skin, redness or flaking skin in the nipple area of the breast, nipple discharge other than breast milk, pain in any area of the breast and any change in the size or shape of the breast.

To schedule an appointment, call 801-507-7840 or visit intermountainhealthcare.org/mammogram.


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