Follow-Up After an Abnormal Mammogram

For most women, the results of a screening mammogram will be good news. The mammogram will show no sign of breast cancer.

If your mammogram does show something abnormal, you’ll need follow-up tests to check whether or not the finding is breast cancer.

Most abnormal findings on a mammogram are not breast cancer.

For most women, follow-up tests will show normal breast tissue. For other women, follow-up tests will show a benign (not cancer) breast condition. A small number of women will have breast cancer.

It’s important to get follow-up without delay. That way, if you have breast cancer, it can be treated as soon as possible.

Follow-up tests

Types of follow-up tests

If you have an abnormal finding on a screening mammogram, the follow-up tests you’ll have depend on the recommendations of the radiologist (the doctor who read and interpreted your mammogram).

Sometimes, a follow-up mammogram (diagnostic mammogram) or breast ultrasound is done.

If the finding doesn’t look like breast cancer (for example, it’s a cyst), no further testing is needed and you return to your regular schedule of breast cancer screening with mammograms and clinical breast exams.

In some cases, more tests such as a breast MRI may be recommended.

The following is an interactive tour showing common imaging tests and how some findings may look on them. Click the arrows to move through the tour to learn about the different tests.

Susan G. Komen® Patient Care Center

Do you need more information about breast cancer screening or low-cost programs in your area? We’re here for you. The Komen Patient Care Center is your trusted, go-to source for timely, accurate breast health and breast cancer information, services and resources. Our navigators offer free, personalized support for you and your loved ones including education, emotional support, financial assistance, help accessing care and more. Get connected to a Komen navigator by contacting the Breast Care Helpline at 1-877-465-6636 or email to get started. All calls are answered Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m to 7 p.m. ET and Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. Se habla español.

When a breast biopsy is needed

If the finding looks like it might be breast cancer, the next step is a biopsy. A biopsy removes a small amount of tissue in the breast to check for cancer.

If the biopsy shows no cancer, you return to your regular schedule of screening with mammograms and clinical breast exams.

If breast cancer is found, it can be treated. With standard treatment, people who have breast cancers found by screening mammography have a high chance of survival.

If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, a patient navigator at your medical center may help coordinate your care.

Learn more about biopsies and breast cancer diagnosis.

Learn about breast cancer treatment.

Learn about breast cancer screening recommendations for women at average risk.

Learn about breast cancer screening recommendations for women at higher risk.

 Updated 3/20/24



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