There are two types of mammograms, a procedure that checks for abnormalities like lumps and masses in the breast: screening and diagnostic. In the former, each breast is X-rayed in two different positions: from top to bottom and from side to side. Questionable abnormalities sometimes require additional evaluation -- diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound, and/or needle biopsy. A diagnostic mammogram focuses on an area of breast tissue that appeared abnormal in a screening mammogram. Mammograms are 85% to 95% accurate and will be falsely negative in up to 15% of patients. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage about mammograms, when they are needed, what they show, and much more.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending that women who aren't at high risk of breast cancer start getting mammograms at age 50, a decade later than previously recommended. Experts answer questions about the new mammogram guidelines.
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