New Abbreviated MRI at Intermountain Healthcare Helps Detect Breast Cancer in Women at High Risk

Industry: Healthcare

Using magnetic resonance imaging machines already in hospitals, Intermountain Healthcare doctors have increased survival rates through early detection of breast cancer.

Salt Lake City, UT (PRUnderground) November 1st, 2022

One in eight U.S. women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. One of the ways doctors have increased survival rates is with early detection using annual screening mammography.

Now, doctors with Intermountain Healthcare have a new tool for early detection called abbreviated MRI. Using a normal magnetic resonance imaging machine already in hospitals, doctors can do a scan of just the breasts which only takes about ten minutes, and costs significantly less than conventional MRI.

“Scans from an MRI are more sensitive and can detect certain cancers earlier than a normal mammogram,” said Brett Parkinson, MD, medical director of Intermountain Healthcare’s Breast Care Center. “Studies have also shown the sensitivity of a mammogram is about 70-85 percent while an MRI 95-98 percent. That sensitivity is especially important for women with dense breast tissue because it can be harder for a mammogram to pick up tumors early because of the extra tissue.”

By the end of the year, the scans will be available at Intermountain Medical Center for women considered to be at higher risk of breast cancer which is determined by several factors including family history and density of breast tissue. Using data points from previous scans and a questionnaire, so doctors can help determine risk level for developing breast cancer.

Those with a score at or above 20 percent are considered high risk and eligible for the abbreviated MRI. SelectHealth Insurance will cover the MRI for high-risk patients. However, patients will want to check with their individual insurance on coverage. Since time in the scanner is shorter, the cost is lower than a traditional MRI and will run around $400 for those paying out of pocket.

Studies have shown there are still some cancers which are better detected on mammograms so abbreviated MRI won’t replace a woman’s annual screenings. Doctors say those at higher risk should receive both scans annually as a preventative measure.

MRIs for breast cancer detection in high-risk patients has been around for around 20 years. Abbreviated MRI is relatively new, and doctors hope with the faster scan and lower cost it could become more widely used in the future.

To schedule a screening, call 801-507-7840, or visit

About Intermountain Healthcare

Headquartered in Utah with locations in eight states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called SelectHealth with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information and updates, click here

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