When something is abnormal or difficult to determine, a woman may be referred for a diagnostic mammogram. For example, a woman with a breast problem, like a lump, breast pain, nipple discharge or an abnormal area found on a routine screening mammogram would get a diagnostic mammogram.
Diagnostic mammograms are also done in women who need short interval, follow-ups exams as a result of a prior diagnostic exam. Also, women that were previously treated for breast cancer may get a diagnostic mammogram.
- It may reveal that an area that looked abnormal on a mammogramscreening is actually normal. When this happens, the woman may return to having a routine, annual mammogramscreening.
- It could show that an area of concern probably is not cancer, but the radiologist may want to watch the area closely. When this happens, it’s common to ask the woman to return for another diagnostic exam in four to six months.
- The results could also suggest that a biopsy is needed to find out if the abnormal area is cancer. This would be to gather more information. If your doctor recommends a biopsy, it does not mean that you have cancer.