What is the difference between a diagnostic and screening mammogram?

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MelissaLeeMD (Physician (Verified) ) - 06 / 09 / 2012

A screening mammogram is performed to screen for breast cancer for patients who are having no breast problems. A four view mammogram is performed and typically if everything is normal, then no additional imaging is required. If the screening mammogram does show an abnormality, then a diagnostic mammogram will also be performed where additional imaging such as spot and magnification views of that specific area will be performed. Often these extra pictures will clear up the area of question. A diagnostic mammogram is also be performed if the patient has a breast complaint or clinical abnormality such as a breast lump, nipple discharge, and skin changes. Breast pain, which is the most common symptom encountered, is usually not an indication for a diagnostic mammogram.
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