It’s time for your routine mammogram and soon after you’ll learn the results. Hearing your results are normal is comforting, but what happens when you hear otherwise?
If the radiologist needs additional images for further information, your doctor will call you to schedule more detailed images and possibly an Ultrasound. It’s understandable to feel anxious and panicky as you await the next steps — these feelings are normal. But we encourage you to stay calm.
“Abnormal” does not automatically mean cancer.
So what could it be? In most cases, an irregular mammogram could mean:
- Dense breast tissue — common in many women. Those with dense breast tissue will show solid white areas on a mammogram, which is hard to see through (but 3D Mammography helps with this!).
- A benign cyst
- Motion from breathing on a 3D mammogram
- Breast tissue changes from a prior mammogram
- Baseline mammogram; the radiologist may need additional images before finalizing a report.
What will happen at my follow up appointment?
If you are called back due to an abnormal mammogram, you may undergo one or more of the following tests:
- Diagnostic Mammogram — Additional mammogram images taken to provide more detailed information for the radiologist
- Ultrasound — Non-invasive imaging of the breast using sound waves, no radiation involved.
- MRI — an MRI is highly sensitive for finding breast cancer. A contrast agent is injected during the exam and is quite expensive. Those factors make MRI an unlikely choice unless you have a strong family history of breast cancer or are preparing for surgery.
More often than not, these additional tests will confirm your results are normal, though occasionally a biopsy may be recommended.
Should you receive abnormal mammogram results, schedule your next appointment quickly for peace of mind. Consider bringing a friend or loved one with you to your appointment as a support system.
Hearing the word “abnormal” can be scary, which is why we have a Women’s Imaging Center to provide a comfortable and private environment. Choose Kirby Medical Center for your mammography needs, contact us today to schedule an appointment or request more information: (217)762-1826.