Dr. Jay Harness explains the difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram.
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EmpowHer Asks: What’s the difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram? Dr. Jay Harness, M.D. EmpowHer’s Medical Board Screening mammograms are done strictly for annual screening of patients that have no symptoms. Meaning they don’t feel any lumps in their breasts, they’re not having a nipple discharge, things of that sort. And we know that screening mammograms save lives, we know we can find non-palpable cancers with screening mammograms, etcetera. Again, the dose of radiation that you get is very, very tiny, and people don’t need to worry about that. A diagnostic mammogram is when you have a symptom in the breast, again a lump in the breast, a nipple discharge, some sort of asymmetry enlargement of the breast, something where there are symptoms, diagnostic mammograms alert the radiologist to focus on a particular area, and particularly the technologist who is doing the mammograms will focus on your area of concern, often put a little BB (a radioopaque maker) right over that area so they may get some extra views and may go on and do an ultrasound, things of that sort.

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