Follow up mammography

Last Modified: July 21, 2003


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am 36 years old, when I went for my yearly check up, they sent me to have a mammogram since I now have a family history. The results came back saying I have a 4 mm nodule in my right breast possibly negative, recheck in 6 months. I would like to have it checked sooner. My mother was told several times that her lump was probably benign. How can I get my doctor to send me in for further testing sooner or should I just relax and continue to wait? 


Lawrence J. Solin, MD, FACR, Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Screening for breast cancer generally includes mammography, breast self examination (BSE), and physical examination by a physician. Screening mammography can sometimes show findings that are uncertain if a breast cancer is present, and follow-up mammography (usually in 6 months) or further work-up may be indicated. For some situations further work-up with additional breast imaging studies (for example, ultrasound or MRI [magnetic resonance imaging]) may provide important information. The physician is usually the best person to guide these important decisions. A second opinion with a breast cancer specialist, usually a breast surgeon, can sometimes be valuable.