Mammograms can also be used to check for breast cancer after a lump or other sign or symptom has been found. This type of mammogram is called a diagnostic mammogram.
Diagnostic mammography takes longer than screening mammography because the images will be shown to the radiologist for interpretation during your appointment. This allows for additional images to be taken if necessary.
Why are diagnostic mammograms needed?
Diagnostic mammography may be done after an abnormal screening mammogram in order to evaluate the area of concern on the screening exam. For example, magnification views are performed for further evaluation of micro-calcifications seen during a screening mammogram. Additionally, symptomatic patients such as those who have felt a lump or have spontaneous nipple discharge can be examined by the radiologist during their appointment.