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What Conditions does a Mammogram Show?

A mammogram helps to identify the following conditions:

  • Calcifications. These are tiny mineral deposits within the breast tissue. There are two categories of calcifications:
  • Macrocalcifications. These are coarse calcium deposits that usually indicate degenerative changes in the breasts, such as the following:
  • Aging of the breast arteries
  • Old injuries
  • Inflammations
  • Microcalcifications. These are tiny (less than 1/50 of an inch) specks of calcium. When many microcalcifications are seen in one area, they are referred to as a cluster.
  • Masses. These may occur with or without associated calcifications, and may be due to different causes, including the following:
  • Cyst. A noncancerous collection of fluid in the breast. Cysts cannot be diagnosed by physical examination alone or by mammography alone. Either breast ultrasound or aspiration with a needle is required. If a mass is not a cyst, then further imaging may be necessary.
  • Benign breast conditions. Masses can be monitored with periodic mammography, but others may require immediate or delayed biopsy. About 80 percent of all breast changes that are biopsied are found to be benign (noncancerous) when looked at under the microscope.
  • Breast cancer

Locations for Mammography