Breast MRIs – A More Effective Tool For Managing Interval Breast Cancer

by | Aug 9, 2021 | MRI

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As one of the most prevalent types of cancer in the United States today, breast cancer affects millions of women all over the country—making it one of the most prominent and common conditions that oncologists must handle. 

On average, the majority of women even the slightest bit of discomfort in their chest area come to hospitals in hopes of receiving treatment for what is often a life-threatening disease. This, in turn, urges medical establishments and professionals to seek the best measures for detection, prevention, and treatment through a variety of tools and systems alongside irrefutable expertise. 

But, the goal of ensuring that a patient is protected from the implications of cancerous breast tissue cannot be achieved without the right diagnostic tools. When it comes to determining the presence of breast cancer, traditional measures dictate a standard touch-and-feel test where an oncologist determines whether there is a presence of lumps. 

The problem, however, is that even the most touch-sensitive human hands are limited in terms of determining early signs of breast cancer, making traditional methods prone to oversights. Fortunately, a new age of more effective breast cancer detection and protection comes in the form of cutting-edge, modern-day imaging courtest of breast MRIs—especially when it comes to interval cancers. 


What is Interval Breast Cancer?

Interval breast cancer refers to defined parameters given to cancers detected within a year after a mammographic screening wherein findings are considered normal. Nowadays, this term is considered a statistical benchmark used in conjunction with other parameters to assess the efficacy of breast imaging programs. It is a strong indicator of how successful breast cancer screenings are. 

Generally, interval breast cancers (or interval cancers, as a whole) are divided into a number of categories or findings:

  • True negative interval cancer: No sign of a disease may be detected in a previous screening mammogram (usually labeled as such if the lesion is new)
  • Interpreted as benign interval cancer: A lesion that proves to be malignant showed benign morphological characteristics on the previous mammogram.
  • Retrospectively visible interval cancer: A now-known lesion is seen on the previous screen mammogram; this is an interpretative error on the part of the reader.
  • Single reader interval cancer: A second reading would have uncovered the lesion. Second reads in screening programs yield up to 10% more cancers.
  • Technical failure interval cancer: A low-quality image kept the reader from discovering the abnormality.


The Advent of Breast MRIs for an Effective Treatment

In a research article published in the June 8 edition of Radiology magazine entitled “Interval Cancers after Negative Supplemental Screening Breast MRI Results in Women with a Personal History of Breast Cancer” by Kim, G.R, et al., researchers discovered promising developments.

Based on these findings, researchers discovered that supplemental screening with MRI is a good tool for detecting interval cancers in women with a previous history of breast cancer. This proves to be especially hopeful for establishments looking to minimize the rates of incurring cases of technical failure interval cancer.

The key takeaway from the efforts of Dr. Ga Ram Kim and her research team is that MRI procedures may be more effective in detecting early recurrent breast cancers and preventing advanced-stage interval cancers. Breast MRIs have been shown to improve the detection of early-stage breast cancer that may be missed by mammograms.



Although most medical establishments seek to treat cases of interval breast cancer in the most effective way possible, the limitations of traditional methods such as mammograms make it difficult to do so. Fortunately, breast MRIs provide a more effective route for earlier detection so that medical professionals can accurately diagnose and treat potential cases as quickly as possible.

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