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Why does fibrocystic breast tissue make it harder for a doctor to read a mammogram?

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Mammograms are special X-rays for breasts that can help doctors find early signs of breast cancer. If you have fibrocystic breast tissue, a mammogram may be hard for your doctor to read.

Fibrocystic breasts have lumpy tissue, but it's not cancerous. Those lumps, as well as areas that could be cancer, show up as white spots on a traditional mammogram.

Your doctor might have trouble telling which white spots are normal and which may not be. If you have fibrocystic breasts, your doctor may need to use other ways to look for breast cancer besides a traditional mammogram.

SOURCES:

CDC: "What Is a Mammogram?" "What is Breast Cancer Screening?"

Mayo Clinic: "Fibrocystic breasts," "Fibrocystic breast changes: Linked to breast cancer?"

Johns Hopkins: "Fibrocystic Breast Tissue."

American Cancer Society: "American Cancer Society Releases New Breast Cancer Guideline."

Breast Cancer Research : "Not all false positive diagnoses are equal: On the prognostic implications of false-positive diagnoses made in breast MRI versus in mammography / digital tomosynthesis screening."

National Cancer Institute: "NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on May 18, 2020

SOURCES:

CDC: "What Is a Mammogram?" "What is Breast Cancer Screening?"

Mayo Clinic: "Fibrocystic breasts," "Fibrocystic breast changes: Linked to breast cancer?"

Johns Hopkins: "Fibrocystic Breast Tissue."

American Cancer Society: "American Cancer Society Releases New Breast Cancer Guideline."

Breast Cancer Research : "Not all false positive diagnoses are equal: On the prognostic implications of false-positive diagnoses made in breast MRI versus in mammography / digital tomosynthesis screening."

National Cancer Institute: "NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on May 18, 2020

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What should women with fibrocystic breast tissue know about traditional mammograms?

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