Incidentaloma is on the rise

Many unexpected findings are spotted on MRIs but few turn out to be cancer, say researchers

Many patients who undergo MRI may get an unexpected cancer scare that turns out to be a false alarm, a research review suggests.

Unexpected abnormalities like these, also known as incidentalomas, are turning up more often, as increasing numbers of people get high-resolution scans that can spot irregularities that once went undetected.

Researchers analysed data from 32 previously published studies that looked at the potential for serious incidental findings in more than 27,000 patients who had MRIs.

Overall, about 4% of people had potentially serious incidental findings, the UK study team reports in the BMJ.

This jumped to almost 13% when the researchers also included incidental findings of uncertain potential seriousness.

Only about one in five of these incidental findings led to a serious diagnosis after additional tests or procedures.

The prevalence of