Mammograms provide a look inside the breast to help doctors (radiologists) detect breast cancer, often in the early stages when it’s most treatable. But it’s not uncommon that they see something that looks like it might be cancer—a “finding” that could end up being completely normal, but that needs to be further tested to be sure. These tests include diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds, breast MRIs, and breast biopsies.
“I think it's important for women to know that, if they get recalled for additional imaging tests because there's a possible finding on a routine screening mammogram, they shouldn't panic,” says Yale Medicine radiologist Regina Hooley, MD. In fact, she says, “The majority of findings will turn out to be noncancerous, not suspicious, nothing to worry about.”
At Yale Medicine, we have a team of radiologists who specialize in breast imaging. “We are multi-modality,” explains Dr. Hooley, “in that we not only read mammograms, but we also perform breast ultrasounds, breast MRIs, and breast biopsies.” Patients can often speak to the radiologists after the testing is complete and get immediate results.
Having a team of radiologists who specialize in breast imaging increases accuracy, which is why we have a very low recall rate, she says. For the patient, this means fewer false alarms, less retesting, less time and costs—and less worry.