Author Name: Dr. Aditi Agarwal (M.S. General Surgeon), F.M.A.S., F.I.A.C.R.S.I., P.G.D.M.C.H., F.I.A.G.E.S. Breast Colorectal & Laparoscopic Surg.

Understanding Mammogram


Breast cancer is the 2nd most common cancer among females. With the increasing awareness of breast cancer, the number of mammograms conducted has also increased. Once a mammogram is done, anxiety is on a rise due to anticipation & interpretation of the results.

INTERPRETATION OF A MAMMOGRAM

NORMAL: If your mammogram report reads normal; your doctor may recommend that you return after a year for a follow up. Meanwhile you should continue self-breast examination monthly. If you notice any new swelling, new disfigurement/asymmetry or nipple discharge, you should report immediately.

ABNORMAL: Whenever there is a suspicious area detected on a mammogram, it is labeled as abnormal. There are 3 possibilities associated with this:

  • False alarm - There is nothing to worry in this case. Regular follow-ups are advised
  • Close follow up TLesion is suspicious so a close follow-up, monthly or 3 monthly, is advised
  • Biopsy - needs to be done

Breast biopsy could be done on the same day or within a week’s time. It is done as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. It is done with a tru-cut biopsy needle or a core biopsy needle.

In case of small lumps, excision biopsy is needed and for non-palpable, breast pumps guide wire localization is done. Reports usually arrive within 5 to 7 days. It is normal for a person to be anxious during this period. It would be a good idea to share your concerns with your doctor or a close friend/relative.