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.
As cancer screening becomes more common, more apparently healthy people are told they may have early-stage cancer. Harm comes from overtreatment and false-positive results. Are lives really saved? WebMD investigates.
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