University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications


Primary Care Providers Underutilize Breast Screening MRI for High-Risk Women

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiology; School of Medicine; Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Neoplasms | Preventive Medicine | Primary Care | Radiology | Women's Health


OBJECTIVE: Supplemental MRI screening for women at high risk for breast cancer is underutilized. Our study assessed how primary care providers in our healthcare network identify high-risk women and recommend high-risk screening breast MRI.

METHODS: An electronic survey was distributed to providers in OB/GYN, family, and internal medicine departments between 1/14/19 and 3/22/19. The survey inquired about methods used to assess breast cancer risk, familiarity with the American Cancer Society's definition of high-risk, and whether screening breast MRI is recommended for high-risk women.

RESULTS: Response rate was 17% (89/524). After excluding providers who ordered < /=10 mammograms per year, the study included 75 respondents, who mostly ordered 10-1000 mammograms per year and supported annual/biennial screening mammogram starting at age 40-50 years. More providers reported estimating breast cancer risk qualitatively (with family, clinical history, and/or breast density) than quantitatively with risk calculators (73/75, 97% vs 22/75, 29%). A minority of providers (23/75, 31%) correctly defined high lifetime risk. Only 9/75 (12%) providers recommended screening MRI for high-risk women. Use of quantitative risk calculators or ability to correctly define high-risk were not associated with likelihood of recommending MRI screening. More providers had recommended MRI for screening in the setting of dense breasts than for high-risk screening (23/75, 31% vs 9/75, 12%).

CONCLUSION: Primary care providers at our institution did not routinely recommend screening MRI for high-risk women. Risk assessment and reporting at the time of mammography may improve MRI utilization and is an opportunity for radiologists to add value and directly participate in patient-centered care.

DOI of Published Version



Amornsiripanitch N, Ameri SM, Goldberg RJ. Primary Care Providers Underutilize Breast Screening MRI for High-Risk Women. Curr Probl Diagn Radiol. 2020 May 17:S0363-0188(20)30103-1. doi: 10.1067/j.cpradiol.2020.04.008. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32546344. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Current problems in diagnostic radiology

PubMed ID