General Wellness

The Difference Between Screening and Diagnostic Mammograms

Mammograms save lives. We encourage our patients to schedule their annual mammograms as the best form of early breast cancer detection.

Generally, when you schedule an exam, it will be a screening mammogram, which is routinely administered to take a closer look for breast cancer or other issues in women who do not have symptoms.

On the other hand, if you have had results that required a follow-up mammogram or consultation in the past, have signs of breast cancer or have breast implants, you will likely have a diagnostic mammogram, which uses the same technology but may include more images and may zoom in on particular areas of interest. For instance, if you have change in breast shape or size, a lump, pain, nipple discharge or thickening, your doctor may order a diagnostic mammogram.

Both types use low-dose X-rays to take a closer look at the breast. Diagnostic mammograms, however, will likely take longer due to additional imaging.

“Many women went without an annual mammogram in 2020 due to the pandemic, so it is especially important to schedule your appointment this year,” said Dr. Amy Hammers. “If you have questions about the various types of mammograms, how to make your next appointment more comfortable and how the results will be read, we are always happy to talk and to listen.”



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