Screening vs. Diagnostic Mammograms

Screening vs. Diagnostic Mammograms

What’s the difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram? Both are low-dose x-rays of the breast tissue. The primary difference is based on the reason for the exam.


Screening mammograms are done annually, without any symptoms. These are tests done to screen for the possibility of cancer in a woman with no signs or symptoms of the breast.


Diagnostic mammograms are performed when something such as a lump, pain or other change is noticed. They are used to evaluate what is going on after a symptom has been discovered to  diagnose what might be causing the problem. A diagnostic study may also be done after a screening mammogram shows a finding. Diagnostic mammograms may include additional images.


Mammograms are essential to good health. Annual screening mammograms save lives! Always  get prompt evaluation by your healthcare provider for any change in your breast.



Originally posted 4/4/13 on