Reading Between the Lines of the “Abnormal Mammogram” Letter

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a scary letter from a radiologist informing you that your mammogram is abnormal, you can relate to Dr. Val and the Voice of Reason‘s recent posting on this phenomenon. She summarizes (and links to full audio of) her conversation with Dr. Iffath Hoskins (Senior Vice President, Chairman and Residency Director in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.) on what those letters usually mean:

Q: What advice would you give to a woman who receives a letter in the mail indicating that she’s had an abnormal finding on her mammogram?

Please try not to be concerned yet. Wait for the doctor to fully evaluate the mammogram and do further testing before you make any assumptions about the diagnosis. Although it’s almost impossible not to feel anxious, you must understand that the vast majority of “abnormal findings” on a mammogram are NOT cancer.

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