What Types of Follow-Up Tests Should You Get After an Abnormal Mammogram?
Mammography is one of the most efficient screening methods used to detect the early signs of breast cancer. Ordinarily, the results of a routine mammogram test come out negative, meaning that most patients don’t have any abnormalities. However, a small percentage of women who undergo mammography could receive a call for further testing.
The mere thought of undergoing follow-up tests can be scary for anyone. However, we suggest that you don’t panic. After all, abnormal mammogram results don’t necessarily mean that you have breast cancer. In most cases, the radiologist just discovered something that simply requires a closer look.
What Does an Abnormal Mammogram Look Like?
An abnormal finding on a mammogram isn’t something to worry about. It could be just a cyst, a benign breast condition, a harmless lump, dense breast tissue or a non-cancerous tumor.
Also, in some cases, the image from the test could have some distortions, so it doesn’t provide accurate results. In such a scenario, you must retake the test for the doctor to obtain clearer images.
If this is your first time taking a mammogram, the doctor may call you in again after a few weeks for a follow-up mammogram to compare the two sets of results.
Tests Performed After an Abnormal Mammogram
The type of follow up mammogram test that you should take depends on the initial findings. The most common tests include the following:
- Diagnostic mammogram: While a diagnostic mammogram is still an x-ray of the breast, like the initial screening mammogram was, more images a taken so a particular area of concern can be more closely studied and evaluated. A radiologist is also present during the test to ensure the technician captures all of the images needed.
- Breast ultrasound: A breast ultrasound is a painless medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to scan the breast for cancer. In terms of follow up mammograms, this test can help distinguish between a benign cyst and a solid mass that’s potentially cancerous.
- Breast MRI: Breast magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a powerful diagnostic test that uses a combination of large magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of the area being examined.
- Biopsy: Biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure that entails the removal of a small amount of tissue from the affected area for further tests by a pathologist. Types of biopsies recommended for follow up mammogram tests include fine needle biopsy, core needle biopsy and surgical biopsy.
Schedule an Appointment With Us
Receiving news of irregular mammogram results can be devastating to anyone. However, these results don’t mean you have breast cancer. In most cases, the abnormal findings are just harmless lumps yet to be defined.
Besides consulting your doctor, it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion from a professional technologist. We at The Women’s Center at Colorado Springs Imaging and Envision Imaging offer world-class diagnostic services to address your unique needs. Our technologists are vastly experienced at performing a wide range of follow-up mammogram tests. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to receive more information about our mammography services.