Everything You Should Know About Diagnostic Mammograms

Everything You Should Know About Diagnostic Mammograms

29 May 2020

Cancer is a big word in the 21st century. It has claimed so many lives over the years. As technology and innovation continue to integrate with modern medicine, doctors and medical experts are realizing newer ways to diagnose and treat cancer. The most common types of cancers are cervical cancer, throat cancer, and breast cancer.

When it comes to breast cancer, there is no easy way to deal with it. It not only affects women but can also be experienced by males. However, it is very common among women. Fortunately, today, there are more ways to go about your cancerous condition, including visiting an emergency room nearby. At Memorial Village ER, we spread the gospel of screening for women, to ensure they remain knowledgeable about the state of their health. Read on to find out all about breast cancer screening.

What is a Diagnostic Mammogram?

A mammogram is an x-ray of the breasts. When you visit the breast diagnostic center, the first test conducted is a screening mammogram. The function of this mammogram is to detect breast cancer in your breast. Ideally, a screening mammogram is a routine test for women, to check any signs of cancerous cells in your breast tissues.

Afterward, the test results will determine whether or not you require a diagnostic mammogram. This is a follow-up check, usually used after there are suspicions about cancerous cells from your previous test. This test provides a more detailed evaluation of your breast tissue regarding breast cancer. If you have any underlying signs of cancer, or suspicions thereof, a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound will be used.

When is A Diagnostic Mammogram Necessary?

You will only need a 3D diagnostic mammogram at Memorial village ER, upon suspicion of breast cancer. Some of the signs that can show that you have breast cancer include the following:

  • A lump or tumor – in either one of your breasts
  • Pain – will be experienced in your breast tissue
  • Nipple discharge – you should not have a discharge from your nipples, other than milk when you are breastfeeding
  • Changes in the size of one or both of your breasts – the size change can also be accompanied by a change in the shape of your breast

What Does the Diagnostic Mammogram Involve?

If your doctor suggests you take a bilateral diagnostic mammogram, it is because the screening mammogram needs a more in-depth evaluation. That said, you must anticipate that it will take much longer than the typical screening for breast cancer. The diagnostic mammogram costs will also be higher, given that the x-ray has to take pictures of your breasts from multiple angles.

Another aspect to bear in mind is that your radiologist might have to zoom in and out in particular areas. This could be the point where there is a high suspicion of cell abnormality. All this is necessary to help come up with an accurate diagnosis that will then confirm the prognosis of whether or not you have breast cancer.

Even then, the effectiveness of the diagnostic mammogram is dependent on a couple of factors, including the following:

  • The size of the lump or tumor present in your breast tissue
  • The skillsets of the radiologist tasking the mammograms
  • The density of the breast tissue – the denser the breast tissue, the harder it is to detect the cancerous tumor through a mammogram
  • The age of patients – technically, breast tumors are revealed more in women over 50 years old than in younger women. The reason is that younger women and girls have denser breast tissues. This density appears white on the mammogram images. This is similar to how breast tumors appear on the x-ray images, hence, hard to differentiate.

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During the diagnostic x-rays for o breast, you can expect several images to be taken. The radiologist will keep requesting new images, will keenly focus on the area of suspicion. In some cases, spot views will be used, especially where white spots are identified in the images.


Diagnostic mammograms are an important part of the health of a woman. The breast tissue is at a higher risk of getting cancer, which is why mammograms are used. Be not afraid to reach out to a trusted doctor to seek more information about when to start your breast examinations and evaluations.

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