What to Do After Your Mammogram
Mammography is the best tool doctors currently have to detect breast cancer early. Early detection of breast cancer means less invasive treatment protocols and fewer deaths from the disease overall. Unfortunately, many women will get called back for additional imaging after their mammogram is flagged as abnormal. Most callbacks are due to false positive images – not cancer.
What Is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is an x-ray that radiologists study to detect small abnormalities in breast tissue. Mammograms use a tiny amount of radiation and are safe. Radiologists can see tiny changes in breast tissue (usually calcifications and masses) that you or your primary physician can’t feel during a manual exam.
New 3D mammography technology captures multiple images, or slices, of breast tissue and reconstructs them into a 3D image on a computer. This technological advance makes it easier for radiologists to interpret screening results and reduces the number of unnecessary callbacks.
What Should You Do if You’re Called Back for Additional Testing?
If you get called back for additional testing it is best to try and stay calm. According to the American College of Radiology, 100 of every 1,000 women who get a mammogram will be called back for additional testing. Of those 100 tests, 61 will be normal. Only five of the original 1,000 women will have breast cancer. The reasons for callbacks vary and include:
Verifying Results of First Mammograms
When a woman gets her first mammogram, radiologists have nothing to compare the results to. If there is a calcification or nodule present, which are almost always benign, radiologists may be more likely to take a second look.
Dense Breast Tissue
Younger women are more likely to have dense breast tissue that appears white in color on mammograms, making it harder to discern masses or other abnormalities.
Why You Should Get an Annual Mammogram
Even though you might be concerned about getting a false positive result, don’t skip out on getting this important test. Mammograms are the gold standard in the early detection of breast cancer. Early detection leads to less invasive treatment options and better recovery rates.
- One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point during her lifetime
- Your risk for breast cancer doubles if you have a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) who’s battled the disease
- 85% of breast cancer patients have no family history of the disease
- Breast cancer mortality rates have been on the decline since 1989, due in part to the widespread use of screening mammograms and awareness campaigns
Choose PURE Mammography for Your Next Mammogram
At PURE, we understand that you might be anxious or worried about getting a mammogram and being called back for additional testing. That’s why we use state-of-the-art 3D imaging technology that produces the clearest images possible. Our caring technicians and board-certified radiologists are highly trained in their field and put your comfort and concerns first.