A 40-year-old member asked:
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will mri scans show cancer?

2 doctor answers
Dr. Devon Webster
21 years experience Medical Oncology
Sometimes: Mris can show cancer in the brain, spinal cord, liver, muscle, and breast. . But mris aren't usually done to "screen" for cancer. The MRI must be done with certain dyes (called contrast agents) to look for cancer. If you had an MRI for another reason, and you are wondering if it would have shown cancer, ask your doctor. It depends on how the test was done and whether contrast was given.
Answered on Apr 5, 2020
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Dr. Andrew Turrisi
46 years experience Radiation Oncology
MRI use pulse changes in magnetic fields to visually show anatomic changes like masses or cancer or aneurysms. They do not use x-rays. They also can "assay" chemical changes (spectroscopy) to provide evidence that the anatomy does not clarify, such as necrosis versus persistent tumor in brain imaging.
Aug 5, 2012
Dr. David Dang
13 years experience Radiology
Depends: Mri is very good at showing abnormal tissue from normal tissues and can pick up various cancers very well. Some cancers, however, can be small and not well seen on mri. Some may be better seen on ct. Cancers involve in the stomach and colon are usually not well seen and may require endoscopy or colonscopy. Some breast cancers are also better seen on mammograms than mri.
Answered on Mar 17, 2020

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