March 28, 2007

MRI - Another torturous procedure for Breast Cancer?.


The American Cancer Society came out with some new directives regarding the early detection of breast cancer. These directives that apply to about a million women in the United States alone, though beneficial, are not clearly targeted, may not be accessible to all, may create unnecessary panic, and may not be viable at this time.

An MRI costs anywhere from $2000/- to $ 4000/- . In order for you to get one your primary physician has to prescribe it (only if you've tested positive for BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation), your insurance has to cover it (only if you fall in the 'high risk' category), and a medical facility has to schedule it (could be a long wait). Given all these obstacles, and the fact that there is bound to be panic after the American Cancer Society directives, it is worrisome to know that we don't have enough medical facilities or the required personnel to handle the sudden influx of patients needing an MRI.

The mammogram though a great detector test for Breast Cancer, is also a source of anxiety and pain to millions of women. With the new directives, women will now be undergoing yet another test under the MRI and that'll mean another excruciating wait for its results!

Longevity of life I guess, but at what cost! What about the 'quality of life'?!

10 comments:

SR said...

I agree with you - I would imagine that the interval between tests and results must be particularly harrowing. However, I wonder what the alternative would be: sitting idly by as cancerous growths best found and treated in their early stages grow to unmanageable size? I am not sure that MRI testing for all high-risk women is good, but I don't believe yearly (or semesterly) mammograms are too high a price to pay for effective cancer treatment.

EXSENO said...

I think it is to high a price to pay. My doctor tells me that I need to get one and we disagree. My mother had breast cancer and during her ordeal I met other people who had it. When you get it I believe you know something is wrong. In my mothers case the lump was obvious and she found it right away. In another patient that I met, she had pain. Their symptoms warned them soon enough that they were both survivors. You can take that damn test over and over again and if you don't have insurance it will cost you a fortune and show nothing. So my own individual choice is that until I feel like something needs fixing, leave me alone. My doctor hates me for it, but I'm comfortable with that choice.

Lisa Francisco said...

MRI testing is needed for all women. Thank you for bringing this up since now I remember I have an aunt who had breast cancer and I have yet to be tested.

Lisa Francisco said...

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Sanjay said...

Good points, I also think it is time for National Health care.

crumbs said...

valid point, but how many people take precautionary test for anything anyways?out of those who do take the care, half are limited by the cost.
we live in a sligtly topsy turvy world, don't we?
been a while since i visited this space :)

bharath said...

great point. One had to be cautious in the guidelines and not to scare people. Otherwise unnecessarily large amount will be spent by every woman who suspects she may have breast cancer. Health care is already a big burden on many families. This will add to it unnecessarily, if guidelines are not set right.

bharath said...

if queues start to form for MRIs, it will be curious to see how the insurance industry till rpotect themselves. even the high risk cancer patient who have mri insurance coverage may come under the line. Oh goodnes. its not hard to imagine.

Dr. Deb said...

I have had an MRI a few times and though it is anxiety producing, the alternative would grip me in a harrowing way.

National healthcare system would ensure that all who need it would have it. We need to do something about the paucity of healthcare.

nandi23 said...

Actually its the best early detection system, insurance companies have been fighting it for years.
Women should be allowed to have the test whether or not they tested positive for the gene ( that is if they chose to have it).
See detection by MRI is particularly useful because it can catch cancer in the very very early stages , a lot earlier than a mammogram can.