Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that MRI testing may be beneficial in revealing breast cancer especially in women who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast.

They reported that women who are diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast may want to have an MRI to screen the other breast for cancer as well even if mammography and a physical exam have suggested the breast is free of cancer.

MRI testings have been found to be better at uncovering cancer in these cases and could lead to simultaneous treatment of synchronous cancers rather than having to undergo the treatment twice.

The researchers followed 969 women who have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Additional MRI testing that followed mammography and physical exam revealed that about 3% of the women also had cancer in the opposite breast although the previous tests showed negative.

However, MRI would not be beneficial for determining initial cancer. MRI does not detect calcifications in the breast, which are an early sign of breast cancer and that can be uncovered by mammography. Besides this, the procedure is rather expensive.