Screening Mammogram Vs. Diagnostic Mammogram.

Screening Mammogram

A screening Mammogram is a yearly Mammogram to look for signs of Breast Cancer. A screening is done on women who have no signs or changes on their breast exam.

The goal of a screening Mammogram is to detect breast cancer before physical signs are seen or felt. Detecting breast cancer early greatly improves a women’s chance for successful treatment and increases her treatment options.

A screening mammogram usually takes two pictures of each breast. On women with larger breasts or implants more pictures may be required.  After obtaining these standard views, the patient is done and the exam is then read by a specialized breast radiologist here at DSP Health  System.

Diagnostic Mammogram

When something is abnormal such as tissue changes from previous mammograms or tissue densities that are difficult to determine, a women may be referred for a diagnostic mammogram. Other reasons for a diagnostic may be nipple discharge, breast pain and breast lump felt by patient. Diagnostic mammograms are also done on women who need short interval follow-up exams as a result of prior diagnostic exams.

During a diagnostic mammogram the images are reviewed by our breast specialist almost immediately so that additional images can be obtained and results can be determined almost immediately.

During your diagnostic exam special images such as spot views or magnification views are used to further evaluate a specific area of concern. Breast ultrasound may also be performed in addition to the mammogram images depending on the type of findings seen on the patient’s mammogram.

Depending on how the mammogram was interpreted one of three things may happen following your diagnostic mammogram.

  1. It may determine the abnormal area of interest actually looks normal and no additional follow-up is needed.
  2. Or it may show the concerned area is probably not cancer but the radiologist may watch the area closely. When this happens, it’s common to ask the women to return for re-check in four to six months.
  3. Or the results could suggest that a needle biopsy is needed to find out if the area of concern is cancer. If the doctor recommends a biopsy it does not mean that you have cancer.