That’s Different… Changes in the Breast and Diagnostic Mammograms

That’s Different… Changes in the Breast and Diagnostic Mammograms

Know thyself” has been wisdom for the ages past… but is wisdom for any age.

Know thyself is sage advice in many ways: know your limits, know your capacity for greatness, know how you feel. It also means know your body – in the case of breast health, knowing your own body is especially important.

A How-To Guide for Knowing Yourself

A self breast exam should be a part of your healthy routine. That means touching your breasts to know what is normal for you and to feel for changes that may occur.  It is also important to looking at your breasts in a mirror to watch for visual changes.

So what are we watching for? Lumps, bumps, pain, skin discoloration, skin redness or change in the skin texture. Are the nipples normal or changing in shape, color or inverting (pulling in when they used to be out) or is there breast hardening of any kind? Is there unusual nipple discharge or blood coming the nipple? Do the breast look the same in the mirror including the shape, color and position?

What’s Next

If you notice any of the above symptoms, it’s time to contact your doctor or healthcare provider.  It is also possibly time for a diagnostic mammogram and/or breast ultrasound exam. Diagnostic mammograms are not much different from your annual screening mammogram in terms of experience. It is still a low dose x-ray test of your breasts using compression but may require more than the standard or usual views.  A technologist will perform your exam and a radiologist will interpret your exam to fully evaluate your breast(s) that have a change.  The radiologist will tailor the exam to you. She or he may use extra mammography views, ultrasound, or other radiology exams to fully investigate the situation.

We encourage you to know yourself and let your doctor or provider know when you detect a change.  Breast changes often require breast imaging to determine the cause.  Share your information with the mammography technologist and with your radiologist – that information can be key to your evaluation.




Originally posted 5/7/13 on