Called Back After A Mammogram? Here's What to Know

If you’ve been called back for a repeat mammogram, here’s what it could mean.

Female doctor listens to female patient about breast cancer diagnosis.

It's not unusual for women who've had a mammogram to be called back for a repeat test because of a suspicious result. You may be understandably frightened if this happens to you. But know this important fact: Most callbacks do not result in a breast cancer diagnosis.

Often, abnormal areas on a mammogram turn out to be a noncancerous cyst or tumor. Also, many women have dense breast tissue, which might make a mammogram initially hard to read.

Related: Getting an Annual Mammogram Could Save Your Life

To help make sure a suspicious finding on a mammogram is not cancer, your doctor may want you to come back and have more tests, such as:

Another mammogram

A diagnostic mammogram is just like a screening mammogram, except that it may focus just on the suspicious area.

Related: Ways to Prepare for Your Mammogram

An ultrasound test

This test, which uses sound waves instead of x-rays to examine the breast, can help distinguish a harmless fluid-filled cyst from a solid mass, which may be cancer.

An MRI scan

This test takes highly detailed pictures of the breast.

A biopsy

After having one or more of the other follow-up imaging tests, the doctor may order a biopsy if there's still a chance the abnormal area could be cancer. For a biopsy, a tissue sample from the breast is examined under a microscope. 

It can take a few days or longer to learn the results of a biopsy. It may be helpful to rely on the support of your friends and family during this anxious time. Most women who have a breast biopsy turn out not to have cancer. You and your doctor have made the right choice by making sure all is okay.

Verify your benefits before having these types of procedures so you’ll have a better idea of what your plan will cover.

References: American Cancer Society; National Cancer Institute; Office on Women's Health

Related Articles