Mammograms are an important part of preventative care for women, as well as diagnosing and managing breast cancer care. Diagnostic mammograms are a step beyond routine screening mammograms and are usually ordered for further evaluation of an abnormality. The radiologist at your medical imaging center in San Antonio will be happy to answer any questions you have about your diagnostic mammogram. Here are the answers to some of the questions patients have most frequently.
When is a diagnostic mammogram ordered?
You may be referred for a diagnostic mammogram if your healthcare provider notices symptoms that could indicate that you have abnormal tissue growth in your breast. You may also be referred for a diagnostic mammogram if you report a change in your breast health, such as a lump or nipple discharge to your doctor. By performing a diagnostic mammogram, your doctor can determine if your symptoms are associated with a benign condition or if you may need further testing for cancer.
What happens during a diagnostic mammogram?
A diagnostic mammogram is performed in the same way as a screening mammogram. Your breasts will be placed one at a time between two plates that then compress the breasts so that an X-ray picture can be taken. Your radiologist may take extra images of a particular part of your breast if requested by your doctor, if there is one area in particular he or she wants to study. Although some women experience minor discomfort during the compression process, it only lasts for a few seconds.
What happens after a diagnostic mammogram?
A radiologist will review your mammogram and provide information about the results to your doctor. If there are areas of the mammogram that could be associated breast cancer, your doctor may order additional testing. An ultrasound and a needle biopsy test can give your doctor more information about the cellular changes in your breast, so he or she can determine if you should undergo treatment for breast cancer.