Overview

The VCU Department of Radiology established the VCU Breast Imaging Center, which was the first breast imaging facility in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the city of Richmond with breast MRI to earn the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Center of Excellence designation.

Breast MRI is used to detect abnormalities of the breast and breast cancer.

Breast magnetic resonance imaging (Breast MRI) uses a magnetic field to generate images of the breast before and after a contrast injection. The breast MRI detects many cancers, yet it may miss some cancers so is used with mammogram.

According to the American Cancer Society Guidelines, women at high risk — about 20 percent or greater lifetime risk based on family history or history of prior chest wall treatment with radiation — should get a breast MRI and a mammogram beginning at age 30. Women at moderately increased risk — 15 percent to 20 percent lifetime risk — should talk with their doctors about adding MRI to their yearly mammogram. Yearly breast MRI screening is not recommended for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is less than 15 percent.

Several risk-assessment tools, including BRCAPRO, the Claus model and the Tyrer-Cuzick model, are used to estimate a woman’s breast cancer risk. Based on different combinations of risk factors, these tools approximate estimates of breast cancer risk. Depending on the tool used, different risk estimates may be calculated for the same woman.