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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Is lung problems visible in a breast MRI?

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Dr. Robert Galamaga

Oncologist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 2617 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 9 Aug 2014 in Cancer
Question: I had a Breast MRI and wondering if the lungs can be seen in the images? I am always worrying about lung cancer. I have read on sites that possible lung issues have been spotted on Breast MRI's.
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Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
CPnsiderations

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thanks for the query,

A very limited evaluation of the lungs is included in the breast MRI. The main focus of the MRI is the breast tissue and the exam includes the chest wall, breasts, armpits and up to the neck. The lungs are just behind the chest wall and only a very small portion of the lungs is included.

A breast MRI is not a valid screening exam for lung cancer.

If you believe you may be at risk for lung cancer please discuss this with your doctor.

Thanks again for submitting the query,

Sincerely,

Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Robert Galamaga 5 hours later
I just worry all the time. I had a chest x-ray 5 months ago and everything was fine. I have been coughing a little and am worried about my lungs. I don't want to get another x-ray because of the radiation that is why I was hoping the mri covered the area. Would lymph nodes for the lungs show?
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Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 17 hours later
Brief Answer:
Followup

Detailed Answer:
Lymph nodes are located throughout the body.

With a breast MRI lymph nodes located under the arm in the area of your armpit are typically looked at by the radiologist. There are not really a lot of lymph nodes in the lungs that are identified on a breast MRI.

if you really have minimal symptoms and if there are no significant laboratory abnormalities which concern your Oncologist then I think the chest x-ray would be sufficient at this time. If your doctor has some concern regarding possible disease elsewhere in your body then it would be reasonable to possibly consider doing a dedicated imaging study of the chest which would include a CT scan. This does include a significant amount of radiation when compared to an x-ray. Again it does not look like there is any strong indication to perform a CT scan.

Please continue to follow up with your doctor as scheduled.

Sincerely,

Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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