Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer among women worldwide. In 2012, nearly 1.7 million women were diagnosed with cancer. In spite of early diagnosis and medical treatments, breast cancer was the most lethal cancer among women in 2012 (about 520.000 women).
For early diagnosis, the most common methods are mammography or breast ultrasound. However, these two methods have a much lower accuracy compared to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as numerous studies have demonstrated.
In a study by Kuhl et al. (2010), 687 women have been examined annually between the years 2002 and 2007 using the above mentioned methods. In doing so, 27 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. MRI had the highest accuracy with 25 detected cancers (92.6 per cent). By using ultrasound, 10 cancers (37 per cent) have been identified and mammography detected only 9 cancers (33.3 per cent).
Major drawbacks of the MRI are increased exam time and cost when compared to mammography or ultrasound. However, a study at the University Hospital of Aachen (Germany), carried out last year, could show that exam time may not be a factor. Kuhl et al. (2014) have performed MRI examinations for early diagnosis of breast cancer in three minutes. Thus, they achieved comparable exam times to mammography.
“If specialists for breast MRI interpret these images, the accuracy of early diagnosis MRI is as high as that of a “normal” breast MRI – and is thus significantly more accurate than a mammography or a sonography”, Prof. Dr. Kuhl summarizes the research results. “Due to this new MRI screening, women who carried a normal risk were diagnosed with breast cancer which has been assumed or identified neither in mammography nor in ultrasound.” 
As early as 1995, the General Manager of NORAS MRI products, Hubert Noras, started to develop a fixation unit and positioning system for MR-supported biopsies of the female breast. This system was patented under DE19626286C2 one year later. This unit was the first Post & Pillar Biopsy System that allows precise tissue samples in the MRI and that could allow visualization of the needle position during a confirmation scan.
Further products for breast diagnostics and biopsies followed and have been continually developed to meet the current challenges in the field of MR-supported breast biopsy.
In development, NORAS MRI products worked closely with the famous specialists of breast cancer. These include among others:
Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Christiane Kuhl, University Hospital of Aachen, RWTH, Germany
Prof. Dr. med. Uwe Fischer, Diagnostisches Brustzentrum Goettingen, Germany
Due to innovative development and close working relationships with clinical practitioners, NORAS MRI products continues to be one of the leading manufacturers of products for the MR-supported breast biopsy and imaging.
- Breast Biopsy 4-Channel Coil BI 320-PA
- Biopsy Unit
- Cranio-caudal Fixation Unit
-  Stewart B. W., Wild C. P. (2014): World Cancer Report 2014. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer
-  Kuhl Ch. et al. (2010): Prospective Multicenter Cohort Study to Refine Management Recommendations for Women at Elevated Familial Risk of Breast Cancer: The EVA Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology 28:1450-7
-  Kuhl Ch. et al. (2014): Abbreviated Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): First Postcontrast Subtracted Images and Maximum-Intensity Projection – A Novel Approach to Breast Cancer Screening With MRI. Journal of Clinical Oncology 32:2304-2310
-  University Hospital of Aachen (2014): Neuer Meilenstein bei der Brustkrebsfrüherkennung. Press Release, 25.06.2014. Available at: http://www.ukaachen.de/fileadmin/files/global/Pressemitteilungen_2014/PM_25062014_Brustkrebs-Frueherkennung_mittels_MRT.pdf [last accessed on 04.08.2015]