Screening Mammograms and Diagnostic Mammograms

Women can reduce their breast cancer risks by having an annual mammogram beginning at age 40. Annual mammograms help catch breast cancer at an early stage when it is more likely to respond to treatment. These ordinary annual mammograms are called “screening mammograms.” They screen for any anomalies that might need to be looked at more closely. 

What if something does need to be examined further? In that case, you’ll be called back for a diagnostic mammogram. 

At The Breast Center’s Fayetteville location, the office has two entrances: “screening entrance” and “diagnostic entrance.” If you receive a callback, you will go to the diagnostic entrance. 

Mammogram Callbacks

Diagnostic mammograms

Diagnostic mammograms focus on a particular abnormality. Screening mammograms are intended to find any abnormalities anywhere in the breast, especially early signs of cancer, which might be too small to be found in a clinical breast exam. 

Once an anomaly shows up, diagnostic mammograms will focus on the specific area. You might have a mammogram for just one breast. You might also have an ultrasound. In any case, you should expect a diagnostic mammogram appointment to take longer than a screening mammogram. Plan on spending an hour at the Breast Center for a diagnostic mammogram. 

Diagnostic Breast Ultrasound

At The Breast Center, you will not have to wait for your results when you have a diagnostic mammogram. You will learn about the results before you leave, and you will have a plan for follow-up.

Follow up

You might be asked to return sooner than one year if you have a diagnostic mammogram. The breast radiologist might recommend a breast biopsy or other follow-up diagnostic exams, or they may want you to wait and see whether any changes occur. 

You might return at six months, one year, and then two years to have a further diagnostic mammogram. If the anomaly has shown no changes at the end of two years, you will be released from the diagnostic process. That means that you will go back to having ordinary annual screening mammograms. Your future mammograms will take place on the screening side of the Breast Center or at the Breast Center location that is most convenient for you.