Womens Health

Benign density on mammogram, no palpable masses

I had a baseline mammogram about 2 years ago at age 30 due to family history of breast cancer (2 aunts). The results were abnormal - a benign-appearing density was found - but it was "not suspicious" for cancer.

The radiologist explained that they wanted to be extra cautious due to my family history and a follow-up mammogram was done 6 months later, showing stability of the region. The same was true 6 months after that. I am due to go in again in 2 months, which will be 2 years from the original mammography. I can't help but wonder if a biopsy should have been done.

I've been told all along that a biopsy would not be called for due to the findings. These are well-regarded radiologists but I can't help but worry somewhat. What should I do?

In general, benign-appearing densities on mammogram do not require biopsies as long as there is not a palpable mass. Unless the surgeon can be directed to a specific area by physical exam or abnormal mammogram, just a random biopsy will not do any good.

However, while radiologists see many xrays, they do not always get the same feedback linking the radiological picture to pathologic findings that a breast surgeon does. In our area, all decisions to operate or not based on a mammogram finding are made by breast surgeons, i.e., general surgeons who do primarily breast work.

While there has been no apparent change in the density by mammography, I would suggest getting an opinion from a breast surgeon rather than relying on the radiologist to make the final decision as to whether or not a biopsy is indicated.

Non-palpable, deep cyst on ultrasound

I had physical 4 weeks ago and my first mammogram. It showed a suspicious area deep near the chest but nothing was palpable. I had an ultrasound and the radiologist said it looked like a cyst. My internist says a biopsy doesn't seem necessary. Should I go to a surgeon or another radiologist?

Breast lumps need to be evaluated by surgeons, not internists or radiologists. See a breast surgeon who will review your mammograms and decide whether it needs aspiration, biopsy or just following the area with repeat imaging studies.

Table of Contents
1. Mammogram anxiety
2. Nodular density
3. Need a biopsy?
4. Breast lumps
5. Breast cysts
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