Haas JS, Hill DA, Wellman RD, Hubbard RA, Lee CI, Wernli KJ, Stout NK, Tosteson AN, Henderson LM, Alford-Teaster JA, Onega TL. Cancer. 2016 Feb 15; 122(4):611-7. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29805. Epub 2015 Dec 28.
Uptake of breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) coupled with breast cancer risk assessment offers the opportunity to tailor the benefits and harms of screening strategies for women with differing cancer risks. Despite the potential benefits, there is also concern for worsening population-based health disparities.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Among 316,172 women aged 35 to 69 years from 5 Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium registries (2007-2012), the authors examined 617,723 negative screening mammograms and 1047 screening MRIs. They examined the relative risks (RRs) of MRI use by women with a <20% lifetime breast cancer risk and RR in the absence of MRI use by women with a ≥20% lifetime risk.
Among women with a <20% lifetime risk of breast cancer, non-Hispanic white women were found to be 62% more likely than nonwhite women to undergo an MRI (95% confidence interval, 1.32-1.98). Of these women, those with an educational level of some college or technical school were 43% more likely and those who had at least a college degree were 132% more likely to receive an MRI compared with those with a high school education or less. Among women with a ≥20% lifetime risk, there was no statistically significant difference noted with regard to the use of screening MRI by race or ethnicity, but high-risk women with a high school education or less were less likely to undergo screening MRI than women who had graduated from college (RR, 0.40; 95% confidence interval, 0.25-0.63).
Uptake of screening MRI of the breast into clinical practice has the potential to worsen population-based health disparities. Policies beyond health insurance coverage should ensure that the use of this screening modality reflects evidence-based guidelines.