Diagnostic Mammography | Breast Biopsy | Breast Ultrasound | Ductogram | Other Diagnostics Procedures

Sometimes a physician may ask a woman to come back for follow-up images, called a diagnostic mammogram, to rule out an unclear area in the breast or if there is a breast complaint, such as a breast mass, nipple discharge, breast pain or skin irritation that needs to be evaluated. The X-rays can be taken at different angles tailored to the specific area of concern. In addition, magnification views or spot compressions can be used to make the area easier to evaluate.

Magnification views amplify the image by using enlarged views to show a specific area in greater detail. A magnification view is especially useful in evaluating microcalcifications.

Spot compression is a technique that applies compression to a smaller area of the breast, creating better separation of the breast tissue. This technique makes abnormal-appearing areas easier to visualize and evaluate.

Diagnostic mammography cannot provide a definitive diagnosis of breast cancer, but it can be used to determine whether breast abnormalities have a high likelihood of being benign or whether a biopsy should be performed to determine if cancer is present.

A recommendation for diagnostic mammography is not necessarily a reason for concern. In fact, less than 10 percent of women who are called back for more tests are found to have breast cancer.*

  • Only 2 to 4 screening mammograms of every 1,000 lead to a diagnosis of breast cancer.*
  • Approximately 10% of women will require additional mammography.*
  • Only 8% to 10% of those women will need to have a breast biopsy performed.*
  • 70% to 80% of all breast biopsies show no sign of breast cancer.*

*American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2012. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2012.