• Dru's Avatar

    How important is a baseline MRI after mastectomy?

    Asked by Dru on Monday, June 9, 2014

    How important is a baseline MRI after mastectomy?

    The surgeon who did my double mastectomy with reconstruction has told me to have an MRI for baseline reference going forward with my check ups. Does everyone do this? The cost of an MRI is high so I want to make sure it serves a valuable purpose.

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • walkingon's Avatar
      walkingon

      Is the surgeon referring to future check ups with him/her? I did not have reconstruction so perhaps that is an issue. But I did have a double mastectomy for stage 1 invasive tumors in both breasts and had no MRI afterwards -- and my medical oncologist specifically has said there is no need for one (or other scans) into the future unless I experience new symptoms. Perhaps your surgeon can clarify what he hopes to "see" on the MRI and how he would use it in future. I think you are right to question the use of this very expensive test. (I did have an MRI and MRI-guided core biopsies that discovered suspicious findings BEFORE surgery)

      over 5 years ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar
      lilymadeline

      Please have one, but your insurance should pay for it if the doctor is ordering it. I had an MRI before surgery and then I have had them afterwards but I am stage IV. But I know an MRI is the only way to tell how spread the cancer is or isn't and if has mets into the chest or other areas. If you are definitely stage 1 maybe you can get away without having it, but if there is any question at all I would have an MRI. ( and unfortunately there are often unanswered questions ) In fact I was diagnosed stage IV because my breast cancer didn't even show up on my mammograms! A lot more of it showed up on ultrasounds, but the oncologist didn't get a clear picture of what was going on until he ordered an MRI of my chest. And that diagnosed stage IV with biopsies and then a PET/CT and more MRI's showed how extensive the stage IV was....so one question can lead to another with a cancer diagnosis. It sounds like your surgeon is taking care of you and being careful and he should! Good luck and best wishes!

      over 5 years ago
    • cam32505's Avatar
      cam32505

      I had a cat scan after my treatment, to see if it was successful (only scanned chest, abdoman, and pelvic areas). So, my rad onc ordered a Pet Scan to use as a baseline. This was a total body scan, and they found thyroid cancer. So, I highly recommend taking the scan (and yes, it was expensive). It was a second primary cancer, unrelated to my uterine cancer.

      over 5 years ago
    • jujuga's Avatar
      jujuga

      Hi. The MRI is necessary now due to the implants. It will be the test for reoccurring cancer , God forbid, if it occurs. The baseline gives the doctor and radiology a clear picture to compare all of the future ones . Your insurance should pay for this a s part of cancer treatment now and in the future. Is it necessary? Is your life worth the money? I'm assuming you're already vested in you life. This insures you get to keep it. God bless and keep fighting.

      over 5 years ago
    • baridirects' Avatar
      baridirects

      I would recommend that you go forward with having the MRI...depending on the stage at which you were originally diagnosed, you will likely be having periodic scans as you move forward on your journey to check for occult metastatic disease, along with blood tests. As others have mentioned, for your team to have a baseline taken now will give them a valuable reference with which to compare future studies. Hopefully, you'll never have a recurrance. When my bone metastases were found, I had no symptoms - a rising tumor marker and followup CT, MRI, and bone scans were what revealed the disease process.

      Namaste,
      Christine

      over 5 years ago
    • Dru's Avatar
      Dru

      Thanks, everyone, for your input. As way of a general reply to all of your comments, my surgeon is prescribing a breast MRI to serve as a baseline from which to compare future exams. The MRI will show what the implants look like so that in the future if a change occurs we will know what the implants normally look like versus something different. I will have to pay several hundred dollars for the MRI (insurance only pays partial), but I will go ahead and have the test done. Thanks, again. I appreciate your help.

      over 5 years ago
    • joyuss59's Avatar
      joyuss59

      I had a Bilateral Mastectomy with no reconstruction and my oncologist says I don't need any tests done unless there are signs ? He does do blood work every 3 months on me ! I would prefer to have test's done so that if it came back some where they would catch it sooner so I worry about that ! Do what your Dr. thinks is best for you ! you could ask him why he wants the MRI and tell him your concerns ! good luck !

      over 5 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar
      karen1956

      The only MRI I had was at time of Dx...no scans since bilat....my onc only does scans if patient is symptomatic.....I don't see my BS or PS anymore (my doing)...See my onc every 6 months (up to 5 years he saw me every 3 months)...labs and tumor markers prior to each visit...

      over 5 years ago
    • jujuga's Avatar
      jujuga

      If you become symptomatic it's too late. A yearly mri is a small price to pay to find any reoccurring problem early when it will be easier to treat. It's your call. I'm in to fight this with all I have. Wish you the best and hope your life is healthy long and full of beauty

      over 5 years ago

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