Mammogram or MRI – Which is Right for You?

Breast health is a top priority for women. The right imaging test can be crucial for the early diagnosis of breast conditions. Mammograms and breast MRIs are important tools for screening and diagnosing breast cancer. But which one is better? Let’s find out.


Mammograms are the common breast cancer imaging test. They use low-dose X-rays to produce images of the breast. Mammograms are useful for finding large, dense tumors. But, they can skip smaller tumors, especially in women with dense breasts.

Mammograms are recommended for most women over the age of 40. As they are effective at detecting breast cancer at early stages. Mammograms identify abnormal masses, calcifications, and signs of breast cancer or benign conditions.

Breast MRIs

Breast MRIs use a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the breast. MRIs are better at finding early-stage breast cancers. Especially in women with dense breasts. But, they are also more likely to produce false-positive results. Meaning that they may show something that is not cancer.

They are often used as supplemental imaging for women at high risk of breast cancer. Or to evaluate suspicious findings from a mammogram. Breast MRI scans provide information about the breast tissue. They are sensitive in detecting certain types of breast cancers. Especially in dense breasts.

Both mammograms and breast MRI scans serve important roles in breast imaging. But they are used for different purposes.

Which is Better?

So, which is better for breast cancer screening? It depends on your individual risk factors. If you are at average risk for breast cancer, a mammogram is a good option. However, if you are at high risk for breast cancer, or if you have dense breasts, a breast MRI may be a better choice.

What Does a Breast MRI Show That a Mammogram Doesn’t?

A breast MRI can show things that a mammogram cannot, such as:

  • Small, early-stage breast cancers
  • Cancers in dense breasts
  • Cancers that have extended to the lymph nodes

Does Breast MRI Show Lymph Nodes?

Breast MRI can show lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are the first place where breast cancer often spreads. If a breast MRI shows cancer in the lymph nodes, the cancer is advanced. It may more aggressive treatment.

When to Get a Breast MRI?

A breast MRI may be recommended for you if you:

  • Are at high risk for breast cancer
  • Have dense breasts
  • Have a family history of breast cancer
  • Have had breast cancer in the past
  • Are being treated for breast cancer

Mammograms and breast MRIs are essential tools for screening and diagnosing breast cancer. The best test for you will depend on your individual risk factors. If you are unsure which test is right for you, talk to your doctor.

If you are concerned about breast cancer, or if you are due for a breast cancer screening, call Hungtion Radiology Center California today. We offer both mammograms and breast MRIs, and we can help you decide which test is right for you.