For most women, the results of a mammogram will be good news. The mammogram will show no sign of breast cancer.
If your mammogram does show something abnormal, you will need follow-up tests to check whether or not the finding is breast cancer.
Most abnormal findings on a mammogram are not breast cancer. Sometimes follow-up tests show:
However, it’s important not to delay follow-up. If breast cancer is found, it’s best to be diagnosed and treated at the earliest possible stage.
There are different types of follow-up tests. If you have an abnormal mammogram, the follow-up tests you will have depend on the recommendations of the radiologist.
Sometimes, a follow-up mammogram (may be called a diagnostic mammogram) or breast ultrasound is done.
If the finding doesn't look like breast cancer (for example, it's a cyst), no further testing is needed and you return to your regular schedule of breast cancer screening with clinical breast exams and mammograms.
In some cases, additional tests such as a breast MRI may be recommended.
If the finding looks like it might be breast cancer, the next step is a biopsy to remove some of the tissue to check for cancer.
If the biopsy shows no cancer, you return to your regular schedule of screening with clinical breast exams and mammograms.
Learn more about biopsies and breast cancer diagnosis.
Learn more about breast cancer screening recommendations for women at average risk.
Learn more about breast cancer screening recommendations for women at higher risk.
Facts for Life: Breast Imaging Methods
Facts for Life: Mammography
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