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MRI scans have no impact on illness

Scientists have said the use of expensive MRI scans on breast cancer patients makes no difference to the number of women requiring a repeat operation when compared with the outcome from using a conventional triple assessment.

A University of Hull study of 1,623 women with the disease showed that those solely having a triple assessment of their cancer were no more likely to need a further operation than those who also had an MRI assessment.

Lindsay Turnbull, of the University of Hull and Hull Royal Infirmary, said the results of the research had "important implications in routine clinical practice" and in the study, published in The Lancet medical journal, they called MRI "expensive".

As part of the research, women across Britain were given a standard triple assessment before receiving either MRI or no further scans. The triple-assessment consists of a clinical examination, an X-ray or ultrasound image of the breast, and lab tests to assess the tumour's pathology.

The researchers found 19% in the MRI group needed reoperation versus 19% of those who had no MRI.

The study also highlighted the expense of MRI, saying that the costs for the patients having MRI scans were higher.

The study authors said: "We believe that our findings show that MRI might not be necessary in this population of patients in terms of reduction of reoperation rates."

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University of Hull