Follow-Up After an Abnormal Mammogram
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.
For most women, follow-up tests will show normal breast tissue. For other women, follow-up tests will show a benign (not cancer) breast condition. A small number of women will have breast cancer.
It’s important to get follow-up without delay. That way, if you have breast cancer, it can be treated as soon as possible.
Types of follow-up tests
If you have an abnormal finding on a mammogram, the follow-up tests you’ll have depend on the recommendations of the radiologist (the doctor who read and interpreted your mammogram).
Sometimes, a follow-up mammogram (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 mammograms and clinical breast exams.
In some cases, more tests such as a breast MRI may be recommended.
If you need follow-up tests, a patient navigator at your medical center may help coordinate your care.
When a biopsy is needed
If the finding looks like it might be breast cancer, the next step is a biopsy to remove a small amount of tissue in the breast to check for cancer.
If the biopsy shows no cancer, you return to your regular schedule of screening with mammograms and clinical breast exams.
If breast cancer is found, it can be treated. With standard treatment, people who have breast cancers found by screening mammography have a high chance of survival.
If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, a patient navigator at your medical center may help coordinate your care.
Learn more about biopsies and breast cancer diagnosis.
Learn about breast cancer treatment.
Learn about breast cancer screening recommendations for women at average risk.
Learn about breast cancer screening recommendations for women at higher than average risk.
Susan G. Komen®’s Breast Care Helpline:
Calls to the Komen Breast Care Helpline are answered by a trained and caring staff member Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET. The helpline provides free, professional support services to anyone who has questions or concerns about breast cancer, including people diagnosed with breast cancer and their families.
You can also email the helpline at email@example.com.
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