The American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging agree with the American Cancer Society that mammography saves lives and that all women 40 and older should have access to mammography. However, we urge that women get the maximum benefit from mammography by continuing to follow the existing recommendation of the American College of Radiology to have annual mammograms starting at age 40. This is consistent with the American Cancer Society report and recommendations.
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, an imaging technique that uses a very powerful magnetic field and radio waves to obtain highly-detailed images of organs and other tissues located throughout the body. The technique uses no x-rays; instead, the magnetic field of the MRI machine “lines up” tiny subatomic particles that comprise tissues and organs, and the MRI's special radio waves cause these particles to release signals that can be detected and captured by a very sensitive receiver inside the MRI machine. Once these signals are captured, special software is used to produce the highly-detailed images as a series of “slices” of tissue that can be viewed from any angle.