Interpreting Mammography Reports

Last Modified: January 30, 2005

Question:

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I recently had a mammogram and when I was mailed the findings it said "non-malignant findings" and that I should have another mammogram in a year to see if anything develops. Should I ask for the actual report so I can see what it says, before I ask for more opinions?

Answer:

Julia Draznin Maltzman, MD, Attending Physician at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, responds:

It is not unusual for a mammogram to show benign appearing changes in breast tissue that do not appear malignant. The wording on this report is a bit vague. It is not clear if this means there are findings that seem to have benign characteristics or that there are no findings at all. It is not uncommon for reports to read: "no malignant findings". It would be reasonable to speak with your primary medical doctor and review the exact wording. Your physician can always clarify things directly with the radiologist if there is any concern.

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