New Affordable Breast MRI Protocol Significantly Improves Cancer Detection in Women with ‘Dense Breasts’

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A newly developed breast MRI exam protocol, the first of its kind being
offered in the Pacific Northwest, is now being performed at Via
Radiology in north Seattle.

Fifty percent of women over the age of 40 have dense breast tissue,
which significantly reduces the ability to detect cancer on mammograms.
MRI is a powerful tool in its ability to detect early breast cancer and
is not affected by dense breast tissue. However, due to its high cost,
breast MRI has until now only been recommended for screening women who
are at high risk.

Via Radiology’s Abbreviated Breast MRI (AB-MR) is a disruptive
technology in the battle to find early breast cancers in dense-breasted
women. The new AB-MR protocol distills traditional breast MRI to its
essential components which can therefore be performed more quickly and
affordably compared with traditional breast MRI. Importantly, studies
have shown that this new protocol is equivalent in accuracy to the
traditional exam.

“Mammography is no match for AB-MR,” said Dr. Craig Hanson, president
and CEO of Via Radiology and medical director of Seattle Breast Center
at UW Medicine/Northwest Hospital & Medical Center. “On average,
mammograms detect four to five cancers per 1,000 women screened, whereas
breast MRI detects 16-23 more cancers per 1,000 women screened, the
lower end of the range being in women who are at average risk of getting
breast cancer.” The sensitivity of mammography in dense-breasted women
is only 38 percent, meaning up to 62 percent of cancers may go
undetected until they are discovered as a palpable lump. As a result,
there is an excess of late-stage disease and mortality in these women.

Dr. Hanson added, “Breast ultrasound is also no match for AB-MR. It only
detects two to three more cancers per 1,000 average-risked women
screened, and at the cost of a high false positive rate, meaning lots of
unnecessary biopsies.”

While there have been major advances in breast cancer treatment, the
stage at the time of diagnosis remains the most important factor in
survival. Finding a breast cancer early also means less debilitating and
costly treatment.

“Via Radiology is proud to be the first in the Northwest – and one of
the first in the country – to implement low cost AB-MR,” said Dr.
Hanson. At less than $500, AB-MR now provides a viable, highly accurate
alternative method for screening women at any risk, especially those
with dense breast tissue. “We can now use the best tool we have at a
reasonable cost to screen these women,” said Dr. Hanson.

Reporters interested in interviewing Dr. Craig Hanson about AB-MR should
contact Jamie Mark at
or 206-366-4628.

More information about Via Radiology and breast density can be found at:

About Via Radiology

Via Radiology, previously known as Western Radiology Associates, was
established in 1969. For the last forty eight years, it has been a
leader in delivering state-of-the-art imaging services to north King and
south Snohomish counties. Via Radiology is comprised of a group of
highly specialized and experienced, board-certified radiologists, whose
skills run the gamut from diagnostic imaging to imaging guided
procedures. More information is available at


Via Radiology
Jamie Mark