Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Christina Applegate's Breast Cancer: FAQ

Applegate's Breast Cancer Found Early; Full Recovery Expected, Says Actress' Publicist


So I look at the other factors, look at what the mammogram looks like, have a conversation with the patient, but there is not a routine patient that I get routine MRIs on other than very high risk or BRCA1 or BRCA2 positive.

And the downside is the risk of false-positive results (suspicious findings that turn out not to be cancer)?

Oh yeah, and we can't afford it. I know people don't like to hear that answer, and for individual patient it's really not anything that plays a role in most of our decision making. But from a society perspective, if we started doing MRIs willy-nilly, I think there was an estimate last year ... probably in The Wall Street Journal, that we would spend something like a billion dollars a year between additional screening and biopsies for the things that come up. That's a lot of money, and we need to start making decisions that have some rational decisions from a medical-economic perspective. Again, not that you would apply that for an individual patient, because you never do that. But in making recommendations that are going to have societal implications, I think you have to do that.

Do you have patients asking you why can't I get an MRI? What do you tell someone who's not at high risk?

I try and give them the right answer ... and go through the false-positives. ... I don't know if you've had a mammogram ... it's not the most pleasant thing in the world but it's not horrible. You go in, you put your breasts on the thing, it squishes them, and you leave. I'm not trying to minimize it. But now you talk to the people who've had MRIs and they hate them. No. 1, you have to get an IV because it's given with contrast. No. 2, you're not getting squished but you're lying face down in this machine that drives people crazy, makes a lot of noise, you're in a very confined environment. People don't like it, and theoretically you can get renal insufficiency, kidney damage, from the dye. And so now we've gone from a test, a mammogram, where it's sort of uncomfortable but it's not going to do harm to you, to a test that's very expensive, has lots of false-positives, and can actually do harm. So you don't just do it because you think it's a good idea. That's the first thing I do -- I explain downsides to them. And if they still want it, I'll write them a prescription, but more than likely the insurance company is going to kick them out because it's so much more expensive.

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow