YOUR HEALTH: A better MRI for cancer detection

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DALLAS, Texas – After working in an oil refinery for 28 years, 64-year old Joe Bird got kidney cancer which spread throughout his body.

It infected his kidney, his brain, and now there's more.

"I've got a big knot right here on my leg. I had it checked. It's cancer."

The bone cancer was detected using a new MRI protocol called "Detect", which can scan the entire body and provide high quality images in just seven minutes.

"And three years later, he's around and doing reasonably well, that's quite amazing," said the director of UT Southwestern's Kidney Center, Dr. James Brugarolas.

Typically an MRI scan takes 20 to 90 minutes.    The seven-minute MRI breakthrough developed by UT Southwestern in Dallas is fast and more accurate.

"With that protocol we can find metastases that are ordinarily missed with other forms of imaging in a way that is very quick."

NEW TECHNOLOGY:   An MRI scan can take as little as ten mins to two hours depending on the case.   New technological developments are not only shortening that scan time but are also allowing for more error-proof, thorough examination.   More in-depth examination ensures, in some cases, earlier detection in which life-saving treatments can then be administered.   The seven-minute MRI, developed by UT Southwestern, is a revolutionary, refined MRI that is not only rapid but also far more accurate than CT Scans, X rays, and dated MRI machines; specifically in detecting metastases. (Source:

The magnetic resonance imaging scanners have been modified to provide images of the body without distortion and provide information that wasn't available before.   That plus immunotherapy has been a life saver for Joe.

"I feel very special."

"It takes a lot of courage to deal with cancer," explained Dr. Brugarolas.   "And, an incredibly supportive environment and Joe has that."

"And here we are three years later, we're still fighting it," said Joe's wife Anita.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at


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