A single copy of this article may be reprinted for personal, noncommercial use only.
Conflicting mammogram results: What can I do?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mammogram-results/AN01851
- With Mayo Clinic internist
Sandhya Pruthi, M.D.read biographyclose window
Sandhya Pruthi, M.D.Sandhya Pruthi, M.D.
Dr. Sandhya Pruthi, certified by the American Board of Family Practice, has been practicing medicine at Mayo Clinic since 1995 with special interests in breast diseases and women's health.
Dr. Pruthi is a consultant in the Department of Medicine, the Division of General Internal Medicine and the Breast Diagnostic Clinic. She is an associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native is enthusiastic about promoting education and patient-related research and has been active in both areas since joining Mayo Clinic. Dr. Pruthi is the primary investigator at Mayo Clinic of a clinical trial evaluating new agents for the prevention of breast cancer and has research interests in the identification of biomarkers for early detection of breast cancer.
Her other research and clinical interests include managing the health of women who are at increased risk of breast cancer, breast pain and hot flashes, and developing patient education decision-making tools for breast-related concerns.
She is past director of the Breast Diagnostic Clinic and has been a member of the Women's Health Executive Committee. Dr. Pruthi has been newly elected as a secretary of the executive committee for the American Society of Breast Disease. She has assisted with a variety of website content.
"Having an opportunity to share information and empower my patients in the way that will help them to understand and be able to make educated decisions about their own health is very important to me," Dr. Pruthi says.
"The Internet is a tremendous resource and information site for people, and I want them to get up-to-date and accurate information to be able to make informed choices for themselves, their family members and friends."
- Mammogram guidelines: What are they?
- Thyroid guard: Do I need one during a mammogram?
- Conflicting mammogram results: What can I do?
- see all in Cancer
Conflicting mammogram results: What can I do?
How are conflicting screening mammograms resolved, especially when they were done at different facilities with film and digital techniques?
from Sandhya Pruthi, M.D.
The answer to your question isn't straightforward. Most abnormalities found on screening mammograms turn out to be insignificant — in other words, not breast cancer — when additional views are completed. In most cases, it doesn't matter whether the mammogram is digital or film.
What's most important is whether the second facility reviewed the images from your first mammogram. This is necessary to understand what the original concern was, and to determine what additional imaging may be required. You may need more mammogram images, evaluation with other types of imaging tests such as ultrasound, nuclear medicine or MRI, or very rarely a biopsy. If the second facility didn't have the images from your first mammogram, it would be best to return to the first facility for a follow-up exam. Or you can have the images from the second facility sent to the first facility for review in order to decide if you need additional imaging.
It also may be helpful for the radiologist who reads the mammograms to compare the current mammograms with your past mammograms to assess whether the area of concern is stable or new. Another important piece of information in the evaluation of an abnormal mammogram is to find out if you have noticed a new change such as a breast lump or mass, or if your doctor has detected an abnormality during a recent clinical breast examination.
If you are still uncomfortable with the radiology report, then you may wish to get another opinion at a breast center. A short-term follow-up in six months may be recommended to assess for stability and determine if an additional work-up including a biopsy is necessary.Next question
Mammogram: Can it find cancer in dense breasts?
- Mammograms and other breast imaging procedures. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/UnderstandingYourDiagnosis/ExamsandTestDescriptions/MammogramsandOtherBreastImagingProcedures/index. Accessed June 8, 2012.
- Venkataraman S, et al. Breast imaging: Mammography and ultrasonography. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed June 8, 2012.
- Whaley DH (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 8, 2012.