Dr. Harms Speaks on History of Breast MRI

Dr. Harms Speaks at Komen Pink Ribbon Luncheon

At the Susan G. Komen Pink Ribbon Luncheon on Friday, October 2, 2015 at the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center, Dr. Steven Harms of The Breast Center of Northwest Arkansas, spoke about the history of the Breast MRI and how Nancy Brinker and Susan G. Komen sponsored the first grant to invest in the coil for the first experimental Breast MRI machine created by Harms in 1990.

Approximately 900 Komen Ozark supporters attended the Susan G. Komen Pink Ribbon luncheon. The physicians at The Breast Center invited staff members, breast cancer survivors and supporters, as well as patients to attend the luncheon. Harms was the featured speaker between the “Big Wig” fundraiser and the Komen Ozark awards, and the survivor fashion show.

Dr. Harms has the patent on Breast MRI and the first Aurora dedicated Breast MRI using Harms’ techniques was installed at The Breast Center of Northwest Arkansas in Fayetteville in 2004.

While Dr. Harms was a freshman at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville,  his own mother’s diagnosis and subsequent mastectomy in 1971 made an impression on him. Later as he worked on the first Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines with scientists and physicians, they were not sure if the technology could ever be used for medical imaging as the first images were very small. Years later, Harms attended a international medical conference where he got an idea from a German physician and was inspired to build a dedicated Breast MRI machine.

However, there was not much interest in funding the machine at the time until he met Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen. “Nancy was passionate about raising awareness and finding a cure for breast cancer and for some reason,” joked Harms, “believed in taking a chance on the breast MRI.” Breast MRI is now one of the best tools radiologists have to detect breast cancer and is used to screen women with a high risk of breast cancer, either because they have had breast cancer before or may have a strong family history of cancer.

More information on Breast MRI and Risk Assessment


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