Breast cancer treatment may be administered more extensively among those women who have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
This is the view of a new study which has questioned the effectiveness of using an MRI scan to establish whether a woman should undergo a mastectomy than breast conserving surgery.
Published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, the study analysed records of patients diagnosed with breast cancer between July 2004 and December 2006.
Dr Richard Bleicher, surgical oncologist and attending surgeon at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, commented: "Our study does not support the routine use of MRI to evaluate breast cancer, yet we found that more and more women with newly diagnosed breast cancer are getting these scans."
He added that MRI is a useful tool because it is very sensitive to the signs of breast cancer but the false positive rate could be causing some women to undergo needless mastectomies.
Scientists at the Van Andel Research Institute have found that cancer mortality rates have been declining steadily over the past three decades.