What should I do if my mammogram is negative?

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A negative mammogram means that the radiologist did not see any abnormalities in the breast tissue on the films. In general, you should continue with monthly self-examinations, regular examinations by your doctor, and have another mammogram within a year or two, depending on the guidelines suggested by your age and your personal physician. However, if mammography was scheduled in order to evaluate a breast change noted during a physical examination, the radiologist or your doctor may recommend further testing (such as breast ultrasound) to evaluate and diagnose that finding.

Unfortunately, mammography is not a perfect test; it does not detect all breast cancers either palpable or nonpalpable. This is particularly true if your breast tissue is very dense. In this situation, a small percentage (5% to 10%) of cancers that can be felt on physical examination are not visible on mammograms. It is important not to ignore a new breast problem, such as a lump, even if you discover it shortly after a negative mammogram. Always notify your doctor in case another mammogram, a different test (such as a breast ultrasound), or referral to a physician who specializes in breast problems is necessary.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.