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Breast MRI is helping detect cancer in high-risk patients


MURRAY – Linda Campbell went in for what she thought was a routine mammography. But because of her dense breast tissue and family history of cancer, she qualified for an additional exam called a Breast MRI, where doctors discovered early-stage breast cancer.

“My cancer was less than a centimeter big,” she said. “We didn’t see it on mammography because of my dense tissue. But the MRI is so sensitive that it picked it right up.”

Campbell, the process control coordinator for MRI services at Intermountain Health, is helping bring the FAST MRI test to additional hospitals.

“For breast cancer, it’s really all about early detection,” said Dr. Eugene Kim, medical director for Intermountain Health’s Breast Care Center in Murray.

Kim – Campbell’s doctor – said without the breast MRI, her cancer might have gone undetected for years.

Linda Campbell getting a Breast MRI at Intermountain Health in Murray.
Linda Campbell getting a Breast MRI at Intermountain Health in Murray. (Photo: Intermountain Health)

“On that MRI, we did find a small abnormality that was not seen and could not be seen on a mammogram,” he said.

Because her cancer was caught early, Campbell underwent a lumpectomy and did not need chemotherapy.

Of course, her diagnosis isn’t rare – 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer in their lifetime – but technology like the breast MRI is helping increase survival rates.

“If you fall into that high risk to do that additional exam, that could be lifesaving,” Kim said.

Dr. Eugene Kim showing where breast cancer can form.
Dr. Eugene Kim showing where breast cancer can form. (Photo: Emma Benson, KSL-TV)

And its usage is expanding. Actress Olivia Munn recently announced she underwent a double mastectomy after a breast MRI detected her cancer.

“I think there’s a lot of fear around breast cancer diagnosis and screening exams and mammography,” Campbell said. “It helps to have someone like that and have a case that people can relate to and say, ‘Look, she’s doing great, and she made it through breast cancer because she got detected early.'”

Annual mammograms are still considered the “gold standard” for women, which are recommended starting at age 40.

To schedule a screening, call 801-906-2700 or visit the Intermountain Healthcare mammogram website.



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