Women with dense breasts (as seen on a mammogram) have a somewhat higher risk of breast cancer than women with fatty breasts [26-27].
Cysts , lumps and tumours will all appear as darker spots on your ultrasound images, compared to the lighter grey and white tissue of the breast. However, a darkened area does not necessarily indicate cancer. Fluid-filled benign cysts and non-cancerous lumps can also be detected by an ultrasound.
Fluid-filled cysts usually appear as solid black circles or ovals, while compared to cysts, breast cancers usually appear as slightly lighter irregular masses. It is important, however, not to try to interpret breast cancer ultrasound images on your own. Your healthcare professional is trained to know what to look for and will talk you through any next steps.
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- Screening tests under study for women with dense breasts
- Findings on a Mammogram and Mammogram Results
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- Normal and Abnormal Mammogram Images
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Most calcifications are benign (not cancer). However, certain patterns of calcifications are suspicious and need more testing. Tight clusters or lines of tiny calcifications (microcalcifications) can be a sign of breast cancer.
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Screening tests under study for women with dense breasts
Images used with permission of the American College of Radiology (www.acr.org).
Adapted from American College of Radiology’s BI-RADS ® – Mammography, Fifth Edition, 2013 and American Cancer Society materials [32-33] with permission of the American College of Radiology.
Findings on a Mammogram and Mammogram Results
As with the others, this mammogram shows both normal fatty tissue (dark) and lighter areas of denser breast tissue. What’s concerning here is the whitest area on the bottom right, which shows a cancerous (cancerous) tumor.
The finding has a high chance (95 percent or more) of being cancer.
Fibrocystic changes in the breast are usually not a sign of disease and do not require treatment. These changes can sometimes cause breast pain and lumpiness, so if this becomes concerning, see your healthcare provider.
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This image is a mammogram of a normal fatty breast, typical of older women, that does not have a lot of dense tissue. A mammogram searching for abnormal lesions, benign lumps, or breast cancer is more accurate when performed on women with non-dense breasts such as these.
In this mammogram image, the breast calcifications are in ductal patterns. This is considered an abnormal mammogram, but it’s not necessarily one that indicates cancer. In this case, the woman was advised to have a follow-up mammogram in three months for comparison. If the woman had a lump associated with these calcifications, immediate further testing would have been needed.
Nothing suspicious or worrisome was seen on the mammogram.
Normal and Abnormal Mammogram Images
Mammograms look different for each person: What matters most is what’s normal for you. If you have dense breasts, your mammograms will have more white, and the radiologist will read them accordingly, watching for changes.
The pattern and shape of microcalcifications can also give radiologists clues about whether cancer may be present. Fine, linear calcifications raise suspicion of underlying breast cancer, whereas popcorn, eggshell, and rim-like calcifications are usually benign.
No evidence of cancer on the mammogram.