Whether you have been told that you have an abnormal mammogram, or that your doctor feels what seems like an abnormal area of change in the breast, you can rest assured that it is almost always possible to diagnose the problem without surgery.

In the last decade there have been huge strides made in diagnostic techniques, so that most non-cancerous problems can be diagnosed and treated in the office.

You may already have had additional mammograms and possibly a sonogram to help understand the problem. When you arrive at the Center, Dr. Whitacre will first review your personal and family history and all of your studies. That is why it is important to come with the actual x-rays (and not just the reports); or better, ask that the x-rays are delivered before your appointment.

After that, he will perform a detailed physical examination of the breasts, using ultrasound in the office to better appreciate the nature of any changes in the breast. This can help immensely in understanding whether any new changes may be due to cancer.

This examination alone may be sufficient to determine the nature of any problems, or even whether or not a problem exists. If a new area of change is identified, then additional studies or possibly a biopsy may be indicated.

Follow-Up

Most abnormal mammograms, and in fact most biopsies, do not ultimately show cancer. These additional studies are very important, however, so that we do not unintentionally let anyone leave with undiagnosed cancer.

But even benign problems and biopsies may require continued close follow-up. Needle biopsies always include a follow-up mammogram or ultrasound in 4-6 months just to check the biopsy site. Any many benign conditions are part of a continuing process of change in the breast; and some are known to increase the risk of breast cancer.

Dr. Whitacre will always let you know whether continued follow up appointments are necessary, but if you have any question please be certain to call or ask before you leave.