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Christina Applegate: MRI 'saved my life'
October 15th, 2010
06:22 PM ET

Christina Applegate: MRI 'saved my life'

Breast cancer survivor, and mother-to-be, Christina Applegate sat down with CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, to discuss her battle against cancer and how early detection may have saved her life. Applegate’s foundation, Right Action for Women, provides advanced screening and genetic testing to women at high risk for breast Cancer.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA: If you hadn’t received the MRI at that point, do you have any idea what would have happened to you?

CHRISTINA APPLEGATE: They probably would have found the cancer on my next mammogram a year later, where it would have been a much bigger tumor, and could have been a much worse scenario. So, it saved my life. It would have been a whole other year before I went in again for my next mammogram.

GUPTA: Most women, as you said, don’t know about MRIs with respect to screening for breast cancer.

APPLEGATE: Well it’s not talked about and I also think that you know, there’s also been a lot of talk that there’s all these false positives with MRIs but there are false positives with any kind of screening. Same with mammography – there is also a lot of false positives. They are not perfect science, unfortunately. But they’re learning more and more now that it’s, it’s an incredible way to screen for early detection.

GUPTA: One of the things I hear all the time as a doctor is that you doctors order too many tests – you’re ordering tests for everything. What do you say to people who say look we’re a culture of over-testing as it is?

APPLEGATE: Well, it’s just a really good test. I mean, I can’t stress enough, it saved my life. There’s no if, and, or but about it. I had just had a mammogram. There was nothing on it. This [breast cancer] was something that if found at a stage that was curable, instead of at a stage where it’s not. I don’t care what anyone says about that – I know that to be the truth. I also unfortunately know that, you know, the MRI screenings are incredibly expensive and a lot of insurance companies don’t cover that – um, which is why I started my foundation, because it just really – it’d upset me so much that, you know, these women were opting to not have this really valuable screening, because of money, and because we’re not taking care of these women who are high risk. So that’s um, one of the things that really got me when I was going through all of this.

GUPTA: Should insurance companies be hearing what you have to say, I mean, ultimately?

APPLEGATE: Absolutely. This should be a part of it. You know, I mean, we, you know, MRIs should be in tandem with mammography – that’s just what I truly believe. But until then, with right action for women, we’re going to provide financial aid to these women. Um, we’re also going to have, you know, education on women who have the genetic mutation, and what they’re options are. At that point, we’ve assembled an incredible group of doctors and nutritionists, and what not, who are on there to kind of guide everyone through the process.

GUPTA: I think the jury is still out a little bit on exactly how it’s going to play out with insurance coverage of breast cancer screening. Do you think it helps when people like you speak and you hear that an MRI saved your life and that they are expensive but maybe it’s time for them to get cheaper, more widely available?

APPLEGATE: Yeah – that would be nice. I love what my foundation is about to do but if they could make it so that we don’t have to work so hard.

GUPTA: Put you out of business?

APPLEGATE: It would be. I would love that. I would love nothing more than [for us], and all of these breast cancer organizations too, to have to close their doors because we don’t have to have this as a part of our vernacular anymore, you know. It’s just, you know, it’s a dream.

GUPTA: How are you doing with the pregnancy?

APPLEGATE: I’m good – as you can see I’m hot flashing a little bit, but that happens a couple times a day. (laughing) It has been such a wild ride.

GUPTA: You look fantastic. And you have a very specific diet that you’ve been maintaining – this was even before the pregnancy. Have you been able to maintain the diet while pregnant?

APPLEGATE: Yeah, I actually have. I adopted a macrobiotic diet when I was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. It’s one of which I adhere to about eighty-two percent of the time. I gotta have pizza every once in a while, you know! You gotta go off and enjoy these things, – that’s part of the mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, scientific part of it. It’s all interconnected. But I’ve been able to stick it fine. As far as gaining weight, I’m right on track.

Programming note: To see more of Dr. Gupta’s conversation with Christina Applegate, tune in to “Sanjay Gupta M.D.” on CNN at 7:30 a.m. ET, Saturday-Sunday.


soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Jon

    Well, if a washed up celebrity actress who thinks she's a scientist and a neurosurgeon who probably doesn't do very much breast surgery agree I'm all for it. Maybe it would be cheaper if the nutritionist's read the MRI's. After all, everyone knows a macrobiotic cures every disease that exists.

    October 15, 2010 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rafael

      great comment!!!

      October 15, 2010 at 22:21 | Report abuse |
    • ikantraed

      I'm sorry but we have discovered a huge void cavity inside your cranium area.. That's not news to me buster!!! Put back on the tube top and be your normal bouncy self please..

      October 16, 2010 at 00:11 | Report abuse |
    • Rexa

      What she should've probably said (which makes more sense) is that early detection may mean less costs ultimately. If a cancer is detected past the early stages, it would cost way more to treat it. Unfortunately, insurance companies don't understand this kind of logic when it comes to breast cancer (or even any cancer if you come to think of it).

      October 16, 2010 at 00:38 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @"Jon"–What an idiotic comment to make. She's not trying to do anything other than help women who are at high risk get the diagnosis they need. Do you know how often people are diagnosed too late?! Lung cancer is the ultimate killer. If CT scans were given once a year to heavy smokers, lung cancer deaths would be greatly reduced. The same with breast cancer. Don't just write something stupid to be contrary or to get a reaction. This is a serious topic and thanks to people like her who speak out, lives are saved. Maybe even yours someday, Jon.

      October 16, 2010 at 00:47 | Report abuse |
    • Gpenn

      Hey Shane, you give someone a chest CT every year and you will more then double their chances of getting cancer from over exposure of radiation. Don't call someone else stupid for an uninformed statement and then make one of your own.

      October 16, 2010 at 00:55 | Report abuse |
    • V Saxena

      Agreed @ Shane. Jon... you're an idiot and probably a washed-up loser, aka a loser who's dropped so low on the social spectrum that he doesn't even deserve to call himself a loser anymore. You're just... crap.

      Bottom line is it doesn't hurt to be educated about something. And it doesn't hurt to listen to someone else's experiences, even if they're not all 'HIGH AND MIGHTY' as you, Sir King of the Douches.

      October 16, 2010 at 00:56 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @Gpenn–Looks like you're another idiot also who'll probably die because of unfounded fears. If someone is a heavy smoker, lung cancer is way more a risk than radiation induced cancer which, by the way, TAKES 20 YEARS TO DEVELOP!!! So pull your head out.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:02 | Report abuse |
    • Gpenn

      Shane, your an idiot giving out advice you have no business giving. I do this stuff for a living and you have no clue what your talking about.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:08 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @Gpenn–If you work in nuclear medicine, you should be FIRED because you don't know that it takes up to 20 years for radiation induced cancer to develop. Also, you don't even know about full-body scans!! Go to bed little boy. You big douche.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:13 | Report abuse |
    • Gpenn

      Shane, your still talking out your a@@. Radiation induced cancer can happen at any time you stupid idiot. You have no clue so just shut up.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:19 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      Gpenis is an idiot. If anyone comes across a "Gpenn" in a hospital situation RUN for the first door. He is ignorant and full of himself and will probably die because of an undiagnosed cancer which could've been saved with a simple scan.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:22 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @Gpenn or GPENIS as is more accurate–Radiation cancer does NOT happen at any time. Here's a direct quote from the medical association: "CT scans came into vogue in the 1980s and radiation-induced cancer takes roughly 20 years to develop, long-term studies of CT scans and cancer are still under way." YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!

      October 16, 2010 at 01:28 | Report abuse |
    • Troy

      @ Shane. I am a radiologist and there are guidelines set forth by the RSNA called appropriateness criteria for any given radiological test. It is all risk vs benefit when it comes to ionizing radiation, which a CT scan produces a ton of. Currently, the data shows that more people would develop a cancer from getting a routine CT than would die from cancer caused by smoking. I'm sorry but you are wrong here.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:42 | Report abuse |
    • ames wolff

      You've gotta be kidding...MRI's are an excellent diagnostic tool. They should be used more and the cost would go down.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:48 | Report abuse |
    • SteveJacobs

      Gpenn and Shane, you both sound like children. Gpenn, if you are in the medical field, you don't sound very knowledgeable. CT scan risk studies are not conclusive yet. Yes, there is a risk associated with them, but the risk is cumulative and does not "happen at any time." Shane, you need to go to bed now. You sound a little too intense for me. Goodnight, boys.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:50 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @Troy-GPENIS, I know this is you, but I'll play along. YOU are wrong. I had a family member whose life could've been saved by a simple CT scan. The X-rays and MRI missed the cancer. IF YOU ARE A HEAVY SMOKER–THERE ARE NOT TWO WAYS ABOUT IT: GET A YEARLY CT SCAN. Lung cancer association and Bonnie J. Addario foundation are all fighting for the CT scan to be covered by insurance for smokers. The risk is not as high as the cancer risk.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:56 | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      My sister developed breast cancer at 40. This was after her doctor insisted she have a mammogram EVERY YEAR since 35. We have no doubts that it contributed to her developing cancer. Yes, more needs to be done about early detection. But, doing a mammogram every year when there is no reason, makes no sense to me or my family. The doc had no good reason for requesting it every year, she just did it.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:58 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @Dana–Don't you think you're looking at this the wrong way?! You should be grateful he ordered those tests and caught the cancer. Also, in case you are not aware, mammograms offer only an average of 70 millirems—roughly the dose you'd receive from your normal, everyday environment over a period of two and a half months. Most of our lifetime exposure to radiation comes from radon produced by decaying uranium in soil and rocks. Enough of this gas gets trapped in your house to deliver about 200 millirems per year. People need to stop freaking out so much about this radiation issue. It is everywhere, so why not use it for something good.

      October 16, 2010 at 02:08 | Report abuse |
    • Gpenn

      Steve-Jacobs, your confusing terms. You can get one xray and it can cause cancer. All it takes is one photon to mutate a cell. The chances are small that one xray would do that, but it can and your risk goes up with the number of times you get radiation. It is a cumulative risk. You can walk in front of traffic one time and not get hit, but if you keep doing it. Your risk for getting hit goes up and if you do it enough you will get hit. Someone asked for facts" Routine full-body CT screening may increase risk of cancer mortality Brenner and Elliston (2004)’ estimated that the lifetime risk of cancer death increases after just one CT scan and grows with each successive scan. For example, a single full-body CT scan in a 45-year-old results in a one in 1,250, or 0.08 %, increased chance of dying from cancer. This risk jumps to one in 50, or 1.9 %, for an adult who begins having scans at 45 and has one each year for 30 years. This study also found that radiation-induced lung cancer was the main form of cancer associated with CT scans." And I apologize for losing my head here, but I get very tired of hearing internet geniuses spouting of about things they know nothing about. So sorry again.

      October 16, 2010 at 02:20 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      Well, now we are getting somewhere. GPenis just said it all: "This risk jumps to one in 50, or 1.9 %, for an adult who begins having scans at 45 and has one each year for 30 years." People, he just admitted that the risk is only 1.9% AND that risk is only for people who have scans each year for 30 YEARS! The risk of getting cancer if you're a smoker the risk of getting lung cancer is as high as 16%. Now GPenn is trying to be "respectable" but he's still an idiot when it comes to the facts.

      October 16, 2010 at 02:29 | Report abuse |
    • SteveJacobs

      GPenn, I said the risk is cumulative. Did you not read my post? Please don't try to lecture me. If you knew what I did for a living you would not be questioning me. Suffice to say, you are simply pulling information from Internet. I happen to know that the risk of getting cancer is not as high as you are making it out to be, nor as low as Shane is making out to be. I advise people here to check with their doctors. Shane is right about one thing: There is radiation all around us.

      October 16, 2010 at 02:36 | Report abuse |
    • Cathie

      Gpenn and Shane–You're both idiots. There. We're all sick of the both of you. Thank you Steve Jacobs for being the voice of sanity here.

      October 16, 2010 at 03:12 | Report abuse |
    • tony d

      I thought an MRI was one of those so called useless tests that everyone(Health care Industry Insurance companies)like to raise hell about everytime a Dr orders one for a patient..seems to me these procedures are way over priced to start with and yet they are great life savors ...so tell me why everyone has to pay over $2000 to have one its rediculous that hospitals charge so much for a procedure that saves so many lives and insurance companies do not want to pay for...looks to me like we already have death panels and they are not goverment sponsered it is unregulated insurance companies playing god for profits. Dont believe the republican propaganda when they spout off about goverment intervention in health care because if we dont pull the reins on them they kill us all off in the name of proftis(Bottom Line). The same ones who pump millions into conservative coffers to keep us endentured to these greed barons.

      October 16, 2010 at 09:55 | Report abuse |
    • sanjosemike

      Perhaps she is "washed up" but it's hard to imagine a more beautiful woman. As far as the MRI is concerned, it helped find her cancer early, which made a huge difference. I don't expect a macro-biotic diet to cure everything. But look at it this way...untill YOU have a tumor diagnosed, you couldn't understand this issue.

      People grasp at straws...it's human. Try to be a little more generous, until at least YOU walk in her steps.

      sanjosemike

      October 16, 2010 at 20:28 | Report abuse |
    • Constantine

      yeah - great comment

      October 17, 2010 at 00:15 | Report abuse |
    • FamilyDoc

      Shane, if you are a heavy smoker the most effective way to reduce your risk of lung cancer is not to have a thoracic CT every year, it's to quit smoking. It is a very typical American response to simply continue risky behaviors and then expect the medical profession to pull your fat out of the fire. And as many of the other posters noted, basing our medical decisions on the advice of famous laypeople is not good medicine. The effectiveness of MRI for early detection of breast cancer has yet to be proven, though for this one individual it certainly made a difference. There is no secret as to the reasons why the US has the highest medical costs per capita, but our health is not any better: unhealthy behaviors and the insistence on expensive but unproven tests or medicines to possibly correct the results of the behaviors. Patients will ask for an MRI after a normal mammogram based on this article, or for the pharmaceutical that is on the latest direct-to-consumer advertising (which annually cost much more than all of the research for those drugs; and we all pay for it). There are screening tests that have been proven to be effective, such as colonoscopy for colon carcinoma, but they are underutilized even though health insurance covers them. I do have to place a considerable part of the blame for this on my colleagues, though, who too often don't take time to explain these choices but just rubber stamp the patient's demands. We in medicine don't have all of the answers, but Ms. Applegate is basing her statements on a sample of one that cannot be extrapolated to the public at large.

      October 17, 2010 at 10:58 | Report abuse |
    • shane

      Well, "FamilyDoc"(actually GPenn)-You get the award for "Stating the Obvious". Of course not smoking is the best way to avoid cancer, but if you've been smoking for years and years, the damage is already there and won't be found by a simple x-ray. The oncologist who treated my family member asked why the primary doctor never ordered a CT scan. The AMA will change this for heavy smokers. Mark my words. This oncologist is fighting for it. Long-time smokers should demand a CT scan to see if there's any early of cancer. Don't let any of these alarmists here tell you otherwise. If you don't believe me, check for yourself. Check with lung cancer organizations such as the Bonnie J. Addario Foundation.

      October 20, 2010 at 20:05 | Report abuse |
    • Ned Racine

      Great – now we have an ignorant loser calling other "washed up."

      October 17, 2010 at 12:48 | Report abuse |
    • jules

      How is she "washed up," you nit? She had her own t.v. series up to last year, and has a steady parade of film roles.

      October 17, 2010 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
    • crs

      Jon, Everyone has the right to free speech, no matter how stupid they want to show they are – sarcasm aside. You are a prime example.

      October 17, 2010 at 15:43 | Report abuse |
    • Cynthia

      I am 35 and when I was 27 I was tested positive for the BRCA1 gene. Sept 30 I had a Breast MRI. These are yearly routine preventative exam for me I thought nothing of it. Before I had a chance to eat dinner I received the call that there is a "small spot" seen. I went back for the ultrasound and mammogram. Nothing could be seen on the mammongram..nothing. I could even pick out where my "spot" was on the ultrasound. I went in for the biopsy on the 14th of Oct and will know the results the 20th. Have I just relied on the mammogram there would have been no further testing. Maybe this is nothing however I want to be sure with my family history. Be persistent and if you don't get the answer you are looking for, do not give up.

      October 18, 2010 at 00:10 | Report abuse |
  2. Hugh

    Yes, an MRI will save your life. But a CT scan will send you to an early grave. Make sure you know the difference.

    October 15, 2010 at 21:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pissing Off the Reich Wing

      So your a doctor? I'll bet you only know what little your read. A full body CT scan saved my life. I had lung cancer that didn't show up on any x ray. The size of pin head. If administered properly your exposure is less that going out in the sun for day.

      October 15, 2010 at 22:33 | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      From wiki

      Chest CT is 5.8 mSv. Background radiation is 1-3 mSv per YEAR.

      So you can go in the sun for 2-6 years and get the same dose of radiation from 1 chest CT. Whomever told you one day in the sun was misinformed.

      October 15, 2010 at 23:19 | Report abuse |
    • jovana

      A full body CT saved my life in 2000. It detected a 7.5cm mass in my kidney. There were no symtoms. I just went to have the scan that was advertised at my own expense. It is the best money I ever spent. My kidney was removed and I am cancer free 10 years later. Plus having a CT and chest Xray every year.

      October 16, 2010 at 00:18 | Report abuse |
    • David Sun

      @Ryan Yeah, wikipedia is the fact on everything. It's not as if anyone can write in it.

      October 16, 2010 at 00:44 | Report abuse |
    • Gpenn

      Pissing Off the Reich Wing, a CT is the equivalent of going out in the sun? I work in Nuclear Medicine and your statement is not only wrong, but dangerous. you should learn before you speak. And where did you get a whole body CT scan? I don't know of anyone or any place that practices ethical medicine. That would do a whole body screening CT scan.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:02 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @Ryan, radiation induced cancer TAKES 20 YEARS TO DEVELOP if it even develops at all. So yes, it's better to act now and catch cancer in early stages than be freaked out about something that may or may not happen in 20 years. Pull your head out.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:05 | Report abuse |
    • Gpenn

      jovana, you had a 7.5 cm mass and had no symptoms? And you keep getting those whole body CT scans anually and we will be seeing you, with your breast/lung cancer, before you know it.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:06 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @Gpenn–Are you that ignorant?! If you work in nuclear medicine I would run from you. Body scans have been around since the 80s. The fact you don't know that, shows me you're a poser and just trying, but not succeeding, at looking like an "expert" but now you're just a silly fool.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:09 | Report abuse |
    • Gpenn

      Shane, I know they did whole body CT's years ago. NO ONE with any ethics does them anymore, because the radiation danger far out weighs the diagnostic value you stupid little moron. You read a little bit on the internet and you think you are some kind of expert you little twit. You have no clue what you are talking about so do everyone a favor and shut up moron. There is zero reason to get a whole body CT for screening. Much like you Shane, it is dangerous and stupid.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:15 | Report abuse |
    • Gpenn

      Shane, they also used to use flouroscopy to size people for shoes, before they realized how dangerous it was. They don't don't do that anymore either you idiot.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:18 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @Gpenn–You're a fraud. You're here because you have a NEED to get validation from others as a so-called expert. Full body scans are still available and if someone has the money, they are worth getting even you have symptoms that haven't been able to be diagnosed any other way. The people above whose lives have been save and I all agree you're a big fat idiot.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:19 | Report abuse |
    • Gpenn

      Shane the only one talking out the side of their mouth is you. The only one who seems to need some validation here is you. You have no clue what you are saying, but you think if you say it enough it will become true or people will believe you. Go pick up any recent medical journal and read up on recent studies in over exposure to radiation. It's there whether you want to believe it or not moron.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:27 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @Gpenn or GPENIS as is more accurate–Radiation cancer does NOT happen at any time. Here's a direct quote from the medical association: "CT scans came into vogue in the 1980s and radiation-induced cancer takes roughly 20 years to develop, long-term studies of CT scans and cancer are still under way." YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!

      October 16, 2010 at 01:30 | Report abuse |
    • Gpenn

      medical association???????????????????????? What is the medical association? Is that your new company? Did you just make that up or do you mean the American Medical Association? Hey idiot, it's been thirty years now and they are cutting back on all unnecessary CT's. They are even going back to doing more VQ's and less CT Angio's for PE's, because of radiation exposer. But you already know that, because your an internet genius.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:35 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      GPENIS–Yes, that's a quote from the American Medical Association. The fact you don't know that is scary. You are probably a glorified volunteer who couldn't make it to nurse. but most of all... YOU'RE A FRAUD. Hey everyone this is the quote you need to know: "CT scans came into vogue in the 1980s and radiation-induced cancer takes roughly 20 years to develop, long-term studies of CT scans and cancer are still under way." GPENIS YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!

      October 16, 2010 at 01:41 | Report abuse |
    • Gpenn

      Public health agencies and national medical societies-the American College of Radiology, the American College of Cardiology, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, and the American Heart Association -do not recommend CT screening.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:43 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      IF YOU ARE A HEAVY SMOKER–THERE ARE NOT TWO WAYS ABOUT IT: GET A YEARLY CT SCAN. Lung cancer association and Bonnie J. Addario foundation are all fighting for the CT scan to be covered by insurance for smokers. The risk is not as high as the cancer risk.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:59 | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      Gpenn, Shane, OMG you guys are giving me a headache! Stop it!

      Neither of you are being mature about bringing forth your sides of the argument. Name calling & insults are just stupid. What about citing references for the facts you each mention? Both of your whining is taking away from the original intention of the article, which is Christina Applegate wanting to help women who can't afford to get the medical help they need, and what she herself has been through.

      My 2 cents. Good night.

      October 16, 2010 at 01:59 | Report abuse |
    • sanjosemike

      Both types of studies have their uses. Neither is so (dangerous) by itself that it will put you into the grave. Computerized Tomography is a highly useful adjunct when an experienced radiologist reads the test. You should be grateful both exist.

      If you are "looking" for something that will "put you into your grave" you have only to look at trans-fat and saturated fat. Now THOSE will put you into your grave.

      sanjosemike

      October 16, 2010 at 20:32 | Report abuse |
    • Constantine

      ive heard that - so why is it still used?

      October 17, 2010 at 00:16 | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Fool. Just like the idiots who want to end vaccines because of unproven links to various syndromes. So instead of 1/100,000 people getting an adverse reaction we end up with 1000 / 100,000 DEAD like they used to die in the 1800s.

      October 18, 2010 at 11:09 | Report abuse |
  3. DJ

    Christina Applegate is one of the all-time beautiful women. That is all I have to say. Thank you.

    October 15, 2010 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mike

      Agree!! She is world-class gorgeous, would be rated world-class gorgeous in any decade. Rock on, CA!

      October 15, 2010 at 22:48 | Report abuse |
    • Constantine

      and a fantastic doctor - oh wait, nope

      October 17, 2010 at 00:16 | Report abuse |
  4. markglicken

    She ought to stay on the macro diet more than 82% of the time if she wants to stay healthy.

    October 15, 2010 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. DarkPassenger29

    Too bad most people can't afford to get an MRI until it's too late (my insurance certainly doesn't cover it). Maybe if we paid people that work hard for a living (i.e. teachers, etc.) more instead of making "actors" and "sports stars" wealthy.

    October 15, 2010 at 22:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dsavio

      or maybe if we had a just medical insurance system

      huh, it's almost like revamping the health care system might be a good idea, anyone ever hear of the government trying to do something like that?

      October 15, 2010 at 23:46 | Report abuse |
  6. stephen - nyc

    So, why can't the accent health program that's piped into my doctor's waiting room, show this stuff instead of all the medical commercials? My point being that while the medical info that the show has is informative, it's all the bloody ads that take place every 2 minutes that are annoying as all get out. I was stuck in the waiting room for over an hour, and the program only runs for an hour, so like a nightmare from elm street, I was stuck reliving it all over again.
    It's not like I can change the channel, since it comes on automatically. It makes going to the doctor's office all the more a PITA.

    October 15, 2010 at 22:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. DtruthBtold

    HMOs are destroying the medical profession, they limit the capabilities of doctors to diagnose, treat and thrive at his own profession.

    October 15, 2010 at 23:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Leo

    No studies have evaluated breast cancer mortality and screening using MRI's. They are more sensitive but LESS specific than mammograms (meaning more false positives). They are much more expensive and only recommended for very high risk patients (life time risk higher than 20-25%). We doctors can make the calculation for the patients. The interview is irresponsible, personal experience is the weakest form of scientific evidence. Dr. Gupta may be an outstanding brain surgeon but he is just acting as a journalist. This is just creating misinformation and false expectations.

    October 15, 2010 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paula, RN

      Just remember everyone, Christina has the BRCA gene mutation. The MRI is approved for screening in this population. Mammogram yearly, and MRI yearly, 6 months apart. Her risk of getting breast cancer because she carries the mutation of the BRCA gene was as high as 80%. She is in a group of less than 10% of the population. So do not mix apples and oranges. She was lucky she was tested for the gene (due to family history) so she could have proper survelilance. The breast MRI does not yet translate to the general public for screening hoever. Dr Gupta should have focused the interview on women with BRCA mutations and screening (both in ovarian cancer and breast cancer). Christina still needs education but at least she is trying to do the right thing and make other women aware. give her a break.

      October 16, 2010 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
    • FamilyDoc

      Yes, Paula, the fact that she has a BRCA mutation changes everything, and it is very irresponsible of Dr. Gupta, either as a physician or a journalist, to neglect to include that information in the above interview. Ms. Applegate also should have known, but she is not the professional here.

      October 17, 2010 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
    • FamilyDoc

      Just noticed that this is an except, so possibly her BRCA status was in the entire interview but not included. CNN can make that change to this article, though.

      October 17, 2010 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
  9. Becky

    My MRI showed my lump was actually 2.5 to 3 cm instead of the 1 cm on the mammogram, as well as finding another lump in my opposite breast that neither the mammogram or the ultrasound found. When my breast surgeon located the second lump from the MRI, it was detectable on the ultrasound, but only when it narrowed in on one area. My second lump turned out to not be cancer, but it was still a 1 cm lump that was missed twice. Before the MRI, my breast surgeon recommended a lumpectomy and thought a mastectomy was not necessary. Because I knew the size was large enough to maybe need the mastectomy, I was prepared enough to have reconstruction immediately. I have a husband and 3 kids. It meant everything to me to choose the more appropriate surgery and treatment the first time and get it right. If it's your life in danger, or someone you love, you understand how much difference it makes to have an expensive test. That Christina is paying for this for other women says something too. And once you've had cancer, you know everything you can find out about it, whether you are a scientist or not.

    October 15, 2010 at 23:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Marci

      Mamagram did not find my lump. Two months after a "clean" mamo I found a 1 inch lump. Women with dense breast tissue, should have MRI's or ultra sound screening and mamograms. Check out this site, "areyourdense.org" I am not the only breast cancer survivor who had no idea about dense breast and the risks of a lump being missed in mamograms. Why are we not told this by the medical doctors! I'm getting an MRI or ultra sound after my mamogram from now on. I'm sure it costs less than surgery,chemo and radiation for almost a year! Lucky to be alive today!

      October 16, 2010 at 01:53 | Report abuse |
  10. Survivor

    FYI....for all women reading this...A breast MRI does not do a better job at detecting breast cancer than a mammogram. A mammogram is just as important as a breast MRI. A mammogram is better at finding one type of breast cancer while a MRI is better at detecting another type of breast cancer. In addition.....it is EXTREMELY important to do your own breast exams...that is what ultimately saved my life. A mammogram did not detect a tumor that I had....8 months after the mammo, I felt the tumor by accident...thank god i did!

    October 16, 2010 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Becky

      I'm glad you did too! And I read the interview to say she thought BOTH tests were important together, I'm glad Leo isn't MY doctor, making his own calculations for women. And I'm SO glad I'm not married to, or a mother to the list of MEN who think they know more than people who have experienced this.

      October 16, 2010 at 00:08 | Report abuse |
  11. Brian

    "Too bad most people can't afford to get an MRI until it's too late ".......

    There was an article in the Wall Street Journal last year to the effect that hospitals are using the MRI as a cash cow to make more money. Doing the MRI is much cheaper than what they charge the patient.

    October 16, 2010 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Constantine

      i can believe that - its a cash cow product

      October 17, 2010 at 00:18 | Report abuse |
  12. SteveJacobs

    Gpenn and Shane, you both sound like children. Gpenn, if you are in the medical field, you don't sound very knowledgeable. CT scan risk studies are not conclusive yet. Yes, there is a risk associated with them, but the risk is cumulative and does not "happen at any time." Shane, you need to go to bed now. You sound a little too intense for me. Goodnight, boys.

    October 16, 2010 at 01:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Christine

    I have always read that most women who get breast cancer were not considered "high risk" to begin with. But what I read from this article is that women who are considered high risk should have priority in getting an MRI. I think it should be used on ALL WOMEN in conjunction with a mammogram as well. Would not women who have dense breast tissue and fibroid cystic breasts like I do be checked with an MRI as well? With dense breasts it is hard to feel much of anything since the breast is already lumpy and bumpy and thick. Lumps could be missed VERY EASILY, not only be feel but by mammogram. In Atlanta, I went to a place called Breast Care Specialists who did the mammo's on me as well as doing an ultrasound immediately afterward. I had already had 4 breast biopsies in my life so far. Moved to Florida and went to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville...They only did a mammo on me. Afterward, I was sent to their breast cancer dept. and was checked again by a Physician Asst. only by feel. I have since moved to a VERY SMALL town in Oregon. I only get a Mammo....nothing else. I really feel like I should have a much more thorough exam.....ie, the MRI and an ultrasound. Who knows what might get missed with only a mammo having such dense breasts as I do. My sister was diagnosed earlier this year with breast cancer...a more rare form, but, it was found in a mammo. She could not feel the lump at all and she does not have dense breasts as I do. So this is a catch 22 situation as far as I am concerned. Why shouldn't ALL WOMEN be THOROUGHLY checked with as many tests that are out there for a more thorough check-up? One cancer that is missed is ONE TOO MANY. I walk around in fear that only having a mammo in this small town IS NOT ENOUGH to give me a piece of mind. If, I could have my breasts removed, I would, just to eliminate the fear I live with. Best and safe wishes to all the women out there who are fighting breast cancer.

    October 16, 2010 at 02:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Fmstu21

    Although it's not scientifically proven that her macrobiotic diet will "save her from diseases", I think we can all agree that her diet is not something to criticize but rather applaud. She's pregnant, and staying in a healthy weight range can remedy many problems for her and her unborn child such as preventing gestational diabetes. Further, we are all aware that studies show that overweight people in general have higher chances of develop any cancer whether it is breast, colon, etc. So if she chose a certain diet, as long as it's a rational diet, it's a wise health decision.

    October 16, 2010 at 03:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jon

    Wow, all those idiots and morons discussing an important and complicated scientific question based for the most part on headlines, the Internet and so-called anecdotal evidence (a true contradiction in terms). While I feel for the individuals you have had to experience various types of cancers basing health care policy on Christina Applegate insisting that her life was saved by a specific test is true folly. I am neither a radiologist or a radiation physicist but you couldn't pay me to have a full body scan with a CT for two reasons; first and foremost the radiation exposure is massive, and secondly, there is virtually nobody who will not have some abnormality (known as incedentilomas) that will show up on the scan. This abnormality will need to be investigated to determine if it is dangerous which may require more imaging studies, biopsy or even surgical removal for what in most cases is a benign process. So in general, such scans actually increase medical costs and have never been shown to extend life span. Yes, there are a few people who have had important problems discovered, statistically speaking, there always will be such individuals. However, in these days of constrained funding, the phrase "if it even saves one life" is unsustainable and probably always has been. Strong medicine indeed, but not everything has a happy ending. I appreciate the comments by those who have been through these very difficult issues. As for those inclined to be insulting I have been a physician for over 20 years and experienced the unexpected death of two family members last year, one from a very rare cancer.

    October 16, 2010 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FamilyDoc

      In my experience, almost all patients over 50 years of age who have a chest CT will have one or more lung "nodules" that will at least require a follow-up CT in a few months, and usually another one or two over the next year. That means that when you have that first chest CT, you are signing up for three or four times the radiation exposure of a single CT. If there was a good reason to do it, then the risk is appropriate, but more testing does not necessarily mean better medicine or better diagnosis. False positives at least cause anxiety, and sometimes harm from invasive tests (needle biopsies, etc) that become necessary to rule out cancer.

      October 17, 2010 at 11:12 | Report abuse |
  16. kaleigh

    Such a shame that the focus is always on detection, rather than prevention. Even the National Cancer Institute says that 75% of the diseases that kill Americans (including cancer) are diet-related. Change what's on your plate for a much healthier life.

    http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/entertainment/tipsheet/diet-related-diseases

    October 16, 2010 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. LucyRicky

    Doesn't it seem a bit strange that MRI's are old science!! Why isn't it cheaper??? Why aren't CAT scans cheaper?? They are really old science!! Have you ever wondered why our healthcare system doesn't get cheaper? Cell phones are cheaper than they used to be, computers got cheaper, flat screen TVs are cheaper. Why not diagnostic testing??? Hello!! What is wrong with this picture???

    October 16, 2010 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Charlie

      Actually, it does not seem all that odd that the tests are not getting less expensive. Think about it, tons of people have cell phones, (myself included). Tons of people have computers, (I've got 4). Ton's of people have flat screen TVs. I don't know of anyone in the world that has an MRI machine sitting around the house just in case they feel like testing themselves for something or another. It's economies of scale, the more of a product that is produced, the less expensive the per-unit cost is to produce the item. MRI machines tend to stay around for a long time, it's not as though the hospitals are going out and replacing them every 2 to 3 years, as is the case with most consumer electronics, thus reducing the demand, and production, even more.

      October 16, 2010 at 16:54 | Report abuse |
    • FamilyDoc

      An MRI scan requires an extremely high flux magnetic field, which can only be generated by a superconducting magnet; these cost several million dollars EACH. Every hospital wants one, patients demand the tests, and also expect that the scanner be the most "up to date" model, so they get replaced every few years. Everyone has a cell phone, so the manufacturers can make a lot of money from a small profit margin. These huge MRI magnets have no other purpose, and despite their excessive use in the US they are not manufactured on the scale of electronic devices. Also, a company that makes anything used in medicine ends up at risk of expensive malpractice lawsuits, so their product liability insurance costs are much higher than for cell phones, and spread over less units.

      October 17, 2010 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
    • go2goal

      We must also acknowledge that many (if not most) MRI cost centers are very profitable......no doubt that malpractice insurance is out-of-control but even so, these centers make a very healthy return (with little to no risk) to their investors. Physicians themselves understand this financial opportunity better than anyone.....it's one reason physicians are frequently the investors behind an MRI center.

      If MRI centers were operated as a none-profit center with return rates equal to a savings bond for the investors, the rates for an MRI could be reduced dramatically. However, there is another factor (example of the complexity) many regional hospitals rely on their MRI cost centers to fund other areas that are not as profitable....such as the ER and caring for uninsured patients.

      Explaining the cost of an MRI is NOT straight forward. As a stand alone cost center or stand alone business, an MRI should cost much-much less than it does in most places today (not all). Some regions of the country have found a way to reduce the cost of MRI's......by planning their centers to meet the total demand of the area Vs blindly following the so called free market. Texas is running 3 regional test centers and they have proven to cut costs when there was a regional capacity planning approach Vs allowing private investors to define supply.

      There are several examples where the free market and so called efficiencies are actually terribly inefficient.....and health care is on such area.

      But don't expect things to improve......MRI's and health care costs in general are going to continue to outpace inflation. Among other things, we can brace ourselves for a major consolidation at the health care delivery level......large hospital corporations buying up regional hospitals. This will happen because INVESTORS (big banks and hedge funds) realize the $ opportunity.....it is NOT going to happen because the industry is trying to make health care more affordable to the people....corporations and investors never do this to lower costs to consumers (patients)....they do it to make a profit. The problem is Obama's health care bill has removed several important anti-trust provisions.....and the smart money is jumping on the opportunity.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:46 | Report abuse |
  18. Mary

    I do NOT have a BRCA mutation (my mother did) but even so I am considered high risk (mother and paternal grandmother both died of pre-menopausal breast cancer) and my present insurance company pays for annual MRI. The negotiated rate my insurance company pays is a little over $3,000 for the MRI. I know the statistics are up-in-the-air about MRIs for women like me and I'm conflicted myself... that's a LOT of money for a screening test.

    October 16, 2010 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Robert A. Wascher, MD

    The ideal role for breast MRI as a breast cancer screening test remains controversial at this time. While breast MRI is more sensitive than mammograms or ultrasound in detecting early invasive and pre-invasive breast cancer (particularly in women with dense breast tissue), there are significant downsides associated with breast MRI, as well. The most significant downside is the high incidence of "false positive" findings associated with breast MRI. In up to 20 to 30% of cases, suspicious breast abnormalities detected by MRI are found, after biopsy, not to be breast cancer after all.

    The cost and availability of high quality breast MRI, and MRI's poor "through-put," are additional factors which limit the use of breast MRI, at this time, as a routine breast cancer screening tool.

    While breast MRI may not yet ready for "prime time" as a routine breast cancer screening tool, it can be clinically useful in patients who have an especially high risk of developing breast cancer. (These risk factors include: inherited breast cancer syndromes, a strong family history of breast cancer, and very dense breasts.)

    Robert A. Wascher, MD

    Author, "A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race" (2010)

    October 16, 2010 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nikki Mackey

      As someone who currently has breast cancer (and dense breasts with no family history of breast cancer) I would rather suffer through 20 biopsies that came back clean than to not do regular MRI's and miss something. Biopsies are a drop in the bucket compared to what I have endured since I was diagnosed.

      October 16, 2010 at 14:20 | Report abuse |
  20. Christine

    DOCTOR ROBERT WASCHER, After reading your post, I am going to push for, (insist) that when I get my next MAMMO here in Klamath Falls, OR (very small town) that they include an ultrasound on my VERY DENSE BREASTS. Every time, I am checked by someone different, they remark at their density. I am about ready to turn 61....you would have thought, the density would have gone away....but not mine. Like I stated in my post, while living in Atlanta, they did do an ultrasound on me immediately following my mammo every year. It gave me a better piece of mind knowing that I was getting "another" test. At, Mayo, in Florida, they did not. I wish everyone were on the same page. I live a healthy life....eat VERY HEALTHY and remain thin and VERY ACTIVE. I am doing my part.....I just want the medical community to do theirs as well. Thank you for your post. I will look into your book as well.....

    October 16, 2010 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Stuart

    Insurance companies only do what is least expensive to them and have no concern for the best health preventive practice. Doctors and so-called medical professionals only do what brings them in the most profits while covering their inadequacies from legal action. It is up to the patient to decide the proper course of action.

    October 16, 2010 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Nikki Mackey

    I am horrified by some of the comments I am reading on here. People are just so damn uneducated and uninformed. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 weeks ago at the age of 36. It did not show up on my mammogram so thank god for my ultrasound tech who had the intelligence to follow through and do a biopsy. Another important thing to note is that MRI's are not radiation based. You are not getting radiation from them, period. They are images gained by using powerful magnets. And to the lady who is blaming mammograms on her sister's cancer – shame on you. Clearly it was a mammogram that caught your sister's cancer in the long run. At the end of the day, self breast exams are probably the smartest and easiest thing women can do for themselves to detect cancer. It is how I found my tumor. Ladies – don't get lazy and skip your monthly breast exam. It could cost you your life. And to all of you who haven't been through this and don't what the hell you are talking about, back off. Modern medicine is a miracle that I thank God for everyday. Sure, there are risks. But you take a risk every day when you walk out of your house. Just try to enjoy your life to the fullest while being proactive and involved in your own health along the way. Someday we will beat this disease. But until then, it is up to YOU to help your doctors identify problems in your own body. Ignorance can kill.

    October 16, 2010 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Becky

      I completely agree with both of your comments. I was diagnosed almost 2 years ago on my first mammogram at 40. My MRI gave more accurate information that was later proved by my testing after surgery. The costs of this problem make the costs of an MRI look like pocket change. And my insurance company has never given me one problem with having one.

      October 17, 2010 at 01:37 | Report abuse |
    • GG

      Well said. I have had a few close friends that have been diagnosed with Breast cancer that they found themselves through self exams. I wish you all the best.

      October 21, 2010 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
  23. Zach Leach

    Thankfully it saves lives. Healthcare inflation caused the worst depression in the past half century, led by the rapid introduction of expensive imaging practices.

    October 16, 2010 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. omar

    The good doctor who ordered the MRI saved your life.

    October 16, 2010 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. TVG

    All of this assumes that early detection actually saves lives, when there are many studies now that call that basic assumption into question. While Christina Applegate and others may feel that early detection has "saved" them, studies are starting to show that early detection may have very little impact on overall mortality, and in fact results in over treatment for many more women than are possibly saved using even the most liberal of assumptions. Something like 2,000 or more women must be scanned in order to save 1 is a number that seems to be coming up in many studies, which would be fine, if it weren't for the dangers and costs of all the false positives. Treatment for false positives can include grueling regimens of chemo, as well as permanent trauma from surgery, and even death.

    Even when cancer is accurately diagnosed, it is not all that clear that modern treatments are terribly effective. It turns out that many cancers are such slow growing types that the treatment turns out worse than the disease. Others it seems are so deadly that no treatment works. Problem is, other than a few cancer types, modern medicine has little idea which cancers can be safely ignored, treated, or which ones will be deadly no matter what. The idea that any single cancer survivor is surviving because of early detection is simply not verifiable because there is a very good statistical chance that that person would be alive regardless of screening or treatment. For others that "lose" the fight against cancer, it is likely that early detection and treatment wouldn't have made a difference anyway. As depressing as all that may be, it's even sadder to see so much money and effort going into earlier and earlier detection and treatment when neither is showing any real benefit for society.

    At the same time, we in the US ignore the basic facts that women in many cultures, notably Asia, and many other places where diets are dramatically different have breast cancer rates a fraction of those we see in the US. If we came up with drugs that could result in breast cancer rates like in Asia we would be able to declare the cancer war won. And no, it is not a function of genetic pool because these same women see much higher rates when they move to the US. We can continue to pour billions into races for the cure, early detection, and every more sensitive diagnostics, but if we don't focus on prevention we're just trying to keep up on a treadmill that's going faster and faster.

    October 16, 2010 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sanjosemike

      Supposing you see three patients: A 70 y/o man with prostate cancer, a 50 y/o female with breast cancer, and a 60 y/o diabetic male patient with a mal-perforans ulcer under his foot.

      Which one do you suppose will die first?

      Most of you got it wrong. The diabetic patient will be dead within 5 years or less. The others will all likely outlive him by at least 5 years. (This is a board question for internal medicine certification).

      sanjosemike

      October 16, 2010 at 20:42 | Report abuse |
  26. Veggiehead

    This woman comes off as a major airhead. I've had multiple MRIs for a different health issue, and I can tell you that they are no small thing. The idea that some wealthy and entitled actress demands an MRI just because she thinks it's a "great test" is offensive. Applegate caught her cancer in a very early stage, it's true, but it's an exaggeration to say that the MRI saved her life. She gets frequent health checks, so it would have been caught soon enough. Rather than pushing for MRIs- for- all, she would do better to support DIGITAL mammograms for all. That is the most logical step up from the status quo - not MRIS.

    October 16, 2010 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Donna

      More like brain of a vegetable.

      October 17, 2010 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
  27. Constantine

    Shes not a doctor - but she plays one on tv

    October 17, 2010 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. mmi16

    Save the Ta Ta's!

    October 17, 2010 at 00:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Dirk Diggler

    If she is so worried about getting breast cancer and on top of that has a gene mutation...than what the hell is she doing smoking all these years...she's even still smoking AFTER breast cancer. What a dumbass !!! She deserves what she gets. I think her real name is Kelly Bundy, and her acting character is Christina....

    October 17, 2010 at 00:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sanjosemike

      I didn't know that she smoked. That is obviously insane. So much to live for...and such a stupid way to waste her beauty and good luck. sanjosemike

      October 17, 2010 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • nota_bene

      She stopped smoking when she was diagnosed. Like anyone who smoked for years and tries to quit cold turkey, she's backslid a couple of times and had a cigarette, but she doesn't smoke daily like she used to.

      October 17, 2010 at 15:16 | Report abuse |
  30. charmee2000

    Subjecting the breast to radiation Mammogram cannot be good. Radiation is bad in any form, dental x-rays being the biggest culprit. MRI is the most effective tool. Just attended lecture at one of the major cancer hospitals in Canada. Endo said no more mammgrams, how can that test possibly be good for the breast. If men had their balls squashed in a plate, a alternative would be found pronto. Insist on MRI and stay away from radiation in all forms was his message. Billions are being raised for the cure why not spend some of that money diagnose and prevent as well.

    October 17, 2010 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. mary

    One of the problems I see here is that doctors have come to rely so much on sophisticated diagnostic equipment that they don't know how to evaluate/treat a patient anymore.
    Yest, cancer is hard to find or detects, but doctors are not very skilled at practicing medicine and will not be able to tell who are the patients who really need further tests, and who are those who will not benefit from additional screening.
    Today's doctors' expertise seems to be statistics more than anything else.

    October 17, 2010 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Breast Surgeon

      I am breast surgical specialist and consider myself "skilled at practicing medicine." Please see my post, and please be assured that myself and many other physicians who dedicate their lives to detecting and treating breast cancer certainly do know how to evaluate and treat their patietns.

      October 17, 2010 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
  32. Evidence-based Medicine Expert

    I'm so glad this is such a simple issue that no professional training is needed to decide it. I'm pretty sure if Christina and Sanjay put their mind to it they can decide the remaining issues of medicine. We can save a $30 Billion NIH budget and the money for comparative effectiveness that just got allocate in healthcare reform. SAD!

    October 17, 2010 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Breast Surgeon

    Ms. Applegate HAS A BRCA MUTATION (she has the breast cancer gene). All experts agree that women with this gene mutation should get MRI screening, all insurance companies cover this. But only 5% of patients who get breast cancer have this gene. MRI is NOT APPROPRIATE for every woman. The current consensus is to offer MRI screening to women who at a greater than 20% life-time risk of breast cancer. EVERY WOMAN DOES NOT NEED AN MRI, please listen to a surgeon on this, not a well-intentioned but misinformed actress.

    October 17, 2010 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. tina

    Just like Christina the MRI is what saved my life last year...I felt a lump, went to have a mammogram , and the mammogram FAILED to pick up the lump, EVEN AFTER the tech felt the lump also and CLEARLY put a marker by the lump and yet the mammogram MISSED it COMPLETELY!! I was then sent to have an MRI and BINGO!!! I had my double mastectomy one year ago and I am now cancer free after radiation and chemo and surgery....I"M ALIVE because of the MRI :)

    October 17, 2010 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. fw1421

    Lets face it,Insurance companies are "NOT" here to save lives,or care about people. They are here to make a "PROFIT",the bigger the better. If they can deny giving an MRI or any other medical service and get away with it that's to their advantage. Wall Street has WAY too much influence in daily corporate operations. CEOs only care about what affects the stock price because it directly affects their performance bonus. The lower the stock price the lower the performance bonus,and we all know how greedy rich people are. 10,20, 30 million is nothing in todays world of rich people. The super rich have so much money that they could not spend it all,but they aren't satisfied with what they have,they want more.

    Getting back to the MRI,if you have a history of breast cancer in your family,get the MRI every year,if you can afford it,if not start calling your Congressman and insist that the government do something about the inequality of health care in the U.S..

    October 17, 2010 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. chieatfetus

    Yeah but she's still smoking!

    October 17, 2010 at 21:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Julie

    I wan't to just tell Christina how wonderful, smart and strong she is to come out and talk to all of us about this. She does not owe anybody an explanation. Reallly brave. Would any of us do this???? I just wanted to tell her that even if you can not breast feed your baby it does not matter, as you mentioned on the show, our moms did not do it. My mom did not and she is my best friend today! No connection! I have 3 kids and 100% experience on how it feels to not fully breast feed your kid. You feel bad. I am not as brave as Christina and will not share my story. But honey, it will pass. We are so busy now! My baby is almost 4 and the fact that I could not fully breast feed her is the last thing on my mind. Life goes on! But I do understand that when you see that little thing at first, you do feel bad. But the bottle is great! Hey my hubby helped the entire time, with all three! Good luck! God Bless! We love life.

    October 17, 2010 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. misanthropic

    MAMMOGRAMS CAUSE BREAST CANCER....DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 17, 2010 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Emre

    I work in medical imaging – the whole body CT is the most unnecessary marketing gimmick out there and anyone that gets it is putting themselves at risk. Any doctor that approves of this test is a quack and any imaging center that does this test without asking the pertinent questions on if you really need this test is just trying to make money off of you.
    DO NOT get a CT exam unless you really need it.
    MRIs are safer- no radiation.
    Quit smoking, eat healthy, work out.

    October 18, 2010 at 01:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Mary Anne

    Cheers for Christina and spreading the message of MRIs and how they can detect breast cancer. Although I didn't need an MRI to find my breast cancer, women with a certain type of gene mutation should get one. You have no idea of what cancer is and what it does to you until you hear the words "YOU have breast cancer." You have no idea what it is like to loose a breast or a breast to cancer. I do. I have.

    October 18, 2010 at 06:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. shane

    Well, "FamilyDoc"(actually GPenn)-You get the award for "Stating the Obvious". Of course not smoking is the best way to avoid cancer, but if you've been smoking for years and years, the damage is already there and won't be found by a simple x-ray. The oncologist who treated my family member asked why the primary doctor never ordered a CT scan. The AMA will change this for heavy smokers. Mark my words. This oncologist is fighting for it. Long-time smokers should demand a CT scan to see if there's any early of cancer. Don't let any of these alarmists here tell you otherwise. If you don't believe me, check for yourself. Check with lung cancer organizations such as the Bonnie J. Addario Foundation.

    October 20, 2010 at 19:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FamilyDoc

      Shane, I am not GPenn. I also didn't say that smokers shouldn't have CT scans, just that it is both much more effective and much less expensive to prevent lung cancer by quitting smoking. You may reply that it's difficult to quit smoking, which is certainly true; though not impossible. Again, it is better to prevent smoking than to deal with it after someone has started. We do not do everything that we can in our society to keep cigarettes away from teenagers, and we still allow tobacco advertising in convenience stores. They even put the posters below the front of the counter so that the intended audience (children) has a better view, and adults usually can't find the ads until they are pointed out. And by the way, the risk of lung cancer starts dropping as soon as a person quits smoking, and by two years after stopping the risk is only slightly higher than a non-smoker. Treatments for some types of lung cancer are still not very good, so continuing to smoke and counting on a CT scan for early detection sometimes isn't enough.

      October 31, 2010 at 21:22 | Report abuse |
  42. Kim Brcak

    Hi my name is Bryce Brcak and I am 15 years old. My mother Kim Brcak is a breast cancer survivor, and I am always bugging her to go to the doctors for her mammogram. She is a great mother and I don't know what I would do without her. She is also a survivor of heart failure. She is one of the most important people in my life and we cannot afford a MRI , because it is not covered under our insurance. I heard on the news that you guys would cover the MRI if you believed some one is at higher risk,and I think she is at higher risk.

    October 31, 2010 at 20:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Jeremiaho Berkau

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    July 31, 2012 at 10:06 | Report abuse | Reply

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