Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer Blog

From breastfeeding to being diagnosed with breast cancer and then back to breastfeeding. This is an account of my experiences.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Breast MRI

Initially I was not offered a breast MRI as I was lactating.  The doctors felt that I would likely light up everywhere and the test would not be helpful.  It was not until after weaning and chemotherapy when I experienced my first breast MRI.  

As I was trying to gather as much information as possible regarding my decision to have radiation treatments or a mastectomy, I felt a breast MRI might aid in my decision making process.

I had never had any kind of MRI, but had heard about the small confines of the tube. It's pretty small. For the breast MRI, one lays face down on a flat surface with cutouts for the breasts. After some time, it becomes rather uncomfortable. The head is either to the side or looking down on a cutout. I did head to the side with pillows. Arms are above the head, but hands cannot touch;  a paper towel was laid between them. The room is very cold for the machine so lots of blankets are available too. Earplugs are highly recommended because the machine is so loud, clanking, alarm like sounds, banging. The tech and nurse are in another room accessible by intercom and a special button. When the machine is going, there's no communicating really - it's much too loud. There were series of imaging, five I think. Each one was a few minutes to seven minutes. It's very important to stay still all the time, even between imagining as not to get out of position. After the first two sets the nurse came in and injected contrast dye into my IV for the next sets. At the end they had me wait one more minute to make sure everything looked ok. By that time my neck and back were aching. Finally I got the ok to wiggle and promptly banged my head, elbows and back on the tube forgetting how small it really is. The whole thing is supposed to take about 30 minutes.

I got the results of the MRI the same day in the evening. The left breast looks great and there is one 6mm area of potential concern on the right. It’s hard to know what it is so the Dr recommends an MRI guided biopsy with contrast. This area is likely scar tissue due to my past surgery.  If I go ahead with a mastectomy, I don't see any reason to have a biopsy.  If I will pursue radiation therapy, I would need to address this area of potential concern first.  

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