Follow-up after an abnormal finding on a screening test may include a diagnostic mammogram, a breast MRI, and/or a breast ultrasound. It’s important to get follow-up without delay.
Although these follow-up tests may be called “diagnostic tools” and may be able to rule out breast cancer, they cannot diagnose breast cancer.
Visit the Paying for Diagnostic Tests section for assistance in paying for diagnostic testing.
Follow-up After An Abnormal Clinical Breast Exam
If your clinical breast exam (CBE) found something abnormal, you will need follow-up tests to check whether or not the finding is breast cancer or a benign breast condition.
If your CBE finds something abnormal, the exact follow-up tests that will be done depend on the type of finding and your age. Follow-up most often begins with the least invasive tests, such as a mammogram or breast ultrasound. If needed, you will then have more invasive tests, such as a biopsy and/or MRI.
Follow-up After An Abnormal Mammogram
If your mammogram does show something abnormal, you will need follow-up tests to check whether or not the finding is breast cancer. Most abnormal findings on a mammogram are not breast cancer but rather normal breast tissue or a benign breast condition.
If you have an abnormal mammogram, the follow-up tests you will have depend on the recommendation of the radiologist. Sometimes, a follow-up mammogram (often called a diagnostic mammogram) or a breast ultrasound is done.
If the finding doesn’t look like breast cancer, no further testing is needed and you return to your regular schedule of breast cancer screening.
In some cases, additional tests such as a breast MRI or biopsy may be recommended. A biopsy removes some of the tissue to check for cancer. If the biopsy shows no cancer, you return to your regular schedule of breast cancer screening.