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Diagnostic Mammography at UPMC

Diagnostic mammograms are done when there are problems such as lump, nipple discharge, change in skin color/texture, or change in size or shape of breast. This may also be done if you are asked to return after your first exam for additional evaluation

Try not to panic. It's pretty common to get called back for more tests after a screening mammogram.

It doesn't mean you have breast cancer. Fewer than one in 10 women called back for more tests end up having breast cancer. It could be what's called a false positive.

A suspicious finding may be just dense breast tissue, a cyst, or even a benign tumor. Other times, the image isn't clear, and a clearer image is needed.

Or, if this is your first mammogram, your doctor has no prior results to compare it to. They simply may want to look at an area more closely.

If your doctor has concerns about your screening mammogram results, they'll schedule another appointment – often within a few days. They'll want you to get new images or have other tests.

Waiting for the tests and the results can be emotionally and physically draining.

One thing you can do at this point is to learn about the process ahead and take charge of your health. That can make you feel better and more empowered.

Find an imaging location near you

What Tests Will I Need at My Follow-Up Mammogram Appointment?

Your doctor will likely give you another mammogram called a diagnostic mammogram.

It's much like your screening mammogram, but they'll take more pictures of the area of concern.

Breast ultrasound

Ultrasound uses sound waves to create a computer image of your breast tissue.

It lets your doctor look more closely at the area of concern.

What Your Imaging Test Results Might Mean

Soon after — sometimes even during your visit — you'll get the results.

Your doctor will tell you one of three things:

  • It's nothing to worry about, and you can return to your regular mammogram schedule.
  • It's probably nothing to worry about, but you should have your next mammogram sooner as recommended. They'll often want you to have the test in 3 or 6 months to ensure it doesn't change over time.
  • A biopsy is needed to further evaluate your breast health.

You'll get the written results during your appointment.