What is included in a screening mammography exam?

Updated: Oct 17, 2016
  • Author: Nagwa Dongola, MD, FRCR; Chief Editor: Peter Eby, MD  more...
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Answer

There are 2 types of mammography examinations: screening and diagnostic. Screening mammography is done in asymptomatic women. Early detection of small breast cancers by screening mammography greatly improves a woman's chances for successful treatment.

A screening examination consists of 2 images of each breast in the cranial-caudal (CC) and medio-lateral-oblique (MLO) projections that are viewed together. For screening mammography, each breast is imaged separately.

See the images below.

Image from a mammogram shows a benign mass: a fibr Image from a mammogram shows a benign mass: a fibroadenoma with well-defined edges and a halo sign.
Benign microcalcifications: secretory change. Benign microcalcifications: secretory change.
Traumatic fat necrosis. Mammogram shows traumatic Traumatic fat necrosis. Mammogram shows traumatic fat necrosis following removal of a lesion. The stellate lesion has a halo center.

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