What can the MRI tell me?


I have had my mammography, ultrasounds, biopsys and told verbally defiantely breast cancer. Yesterday I had the MRI and will get the results on Friday.

What information will I be told from the MRI? Im hoping itll be whether I need a lumpectomy or mastectomy? If you have a lumpectomy, do you automatically get rteadiotherapy? If a mastectomy, then is it autiomatically chemo?

Initial suggestions are that the lump is 4cm.


I had a mri to tell them how big the tumour was.  I was told that because I have dense breast tissue it is harder to determine size from the ultrasound.  The ultrasound showed it was 42mm,  and so it looked like I would need a mastectomy.  The mri showed it was 22mm so I could have a lumpectomy (which I had yesterday). I also had a lymph node biopsy which was clear.  I will be having radiotherapy but no mention of chemo. I don’t think my treatment plan is determined yet as it is still early days. 



Good luck with the results. 

hi Sam,
I had an mri as well. Not everyone does, for me it was because there was a suspicion of lobular bc in with the ductal bc from the original biopsy.
As lobular bc does not show up as well on mammo or ultrasound, an mri with contrast dye is done to see if there are any other problem areas in the breasts.
Also, as Eggster says, it is better diagnostically, for younger women &/or those with dense breasts.
As you say, Sam, it will sort out which surgery you need.
Normally, radiotherapy is standard with lumpectomy, but not everyone who has a mastectomy will need chemo.
Chemo will depend on the stage, grade & type of bc.
All the best for friday
ann x

Hi Sam, you don’t say, or don’t know yet, what type of breast cancer you have. I was told I had a ’ bog standard’ ductal carcinoma which was 23 mm. , so quite small. That meant I could have a lumpectomy. However, the stage and grade also affect the treatment plan. My little blighter was grade three, so quite naughty, but it hasn’t spread , and it was only stage two so early days. What that means is that although the cancer has been removed I need a bit of chemo to mop up, and a bit of radiotherapy to make sure it doesn’t return. My consultant calls it ‘belt and braces’. No one except the medics knows what you need. Everyone is very different and has a plan designed specifically for them. So nothing is automatic. It’s hard not to worry at this stage, but you sound as though you are in good hands. Good luck with both your diagnosis and any treatment you need. X

Hi Sam, I had an mri due to having dense breast tissue.  A mammogram did not show up my cancer, it was confirmed by an ultrasound so the mri was done to check for any other areas.  The ultrasound showed the tumour as 9mm,  the mri as 13mm and it was actually 20mm when removed with unclear margins due to an area of dcis.  As far as I am aware, a lumpectomy and rads have the same outcome as a mastectomy.  I guess which you have, and whether you have chemo or not, is dependent on lymph node involvement, size and position of tumour, grade and hormone status among other things.  Hope your results are good. Michelle x

Thanks everyone for the comments - really helpful. I was told it was lobular bc. I didn’t really the treatment plan was so individual - guess that’s good rather than an automatic path. Really appreciate your time posting x

My mammogram said my lump was 25mm so being pre-menopausal with dense breast tissue they sent me for an MRI prior to my planned lumpectomy. The MRI showed 6 other tiny areas (1mm-6mm) so had to have a mastectomy due to them being scattered around the breast and only a B cup. After mastectomy the pathology showed a total of 10 areas so mastectomy was the right route for me personally as lumpectomy wouldn’t have had clear margins. I’m now 5 months on and enjoying life ‘cancer free’. Best wishes xx

PS - the 25mm was actually only 17mm once checked in the lab and I didn’t need any other treatment other than Tamoxifen daily x