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Many women feel anxious waiting for the results of a mammogram. It can be especially nerve-wracking if your doctor calls you back for more testing. If you do get called back, try not to panic. Most women who are called back after a mammogram don’t have breast cancer, according to Margarita Zuley, MD, chief of breast imaging at UPMC Magee-Womens Imaging.

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Mammogram Callback Reasons

Some common reasons you may get called back after a mammogram:

  • You have dense breast tissue: Normal dense breast tissue can make it difficult for the radiologist to see parts of your breasts.
  • The radiologist found a possible area of concern: Keep in mind that the vast majority of patients who are asked to return for additional screening do not have breast cancer. Benign (not cancer) findings like cysts, calcium deposits, or normal overlapping dense breast tissue may be the reason.

The Diagnostic Visit

During the follow-up appointment, the radiologist may do additional diagnostic mammogram images or an ultrasound to evaluate the suspicious area seen on your screening mammogram,

Based on those results, which you will get that day, you will either learn that all is well or further studies — like an MRI or biopsy — of your breast tissue are recommended.

Don’t Forget About Regular Breast Self-Examination

Regardless of your mammogram results, it’s important to understand that mammography doesn’t detect all breast cancer. Monitoring your breast health through regular self-examination is essential.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following changes in either breast:

  • Lumps
  • Thickening of breast tissue
  • Change in the size or shape of your breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchiness, scaliness, soreness, or rash on the nipple
  • Inversion or pulling in of the nipple
  • Swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening
  • Nipple discharge
  • Constant pain in an area of your breast

Mammograms at UPMC

If your screening is done at UPMC, you can access the results within three to four business days through the Magee-Womens Breast Cancer Program’s Call-for-Results line at 412-641-6666. Results are also mailed to your home.

To schedule a mammogram, call 1-800-649-4077 or view our list of locations.

Patients in Central Pa. can conveniently schedule their mammogram online or by calling 717-230-3700.

If you are over 40 years old, a prescription is not required for a screening mammography.

Some UPMC patients are now able to schedule mammograms online. Visit our online scheduling tool to see if you are eligible

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

For more than a century, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital has provided high-quality medical care to women at all stages of life. UPMC Magee is long-renowned for its services to women and babies but also offers a wide range of care to men as well. Our patient-first approach ensures you and your loved ones get the care you need. Nearly 10,000 babies are born each year at Magee, and our NICU is one of the largest in the country. Our network of care – from imaging centers to hospital services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland, giving you a chance to get the expert care you need close to home. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognizes UPMC Magee as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, and the Magee-Womens Research Institute is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology.

About UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

When you are facing cancer, you need the best care possible. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center provides world-class cancer care, from diagnosis to treatment, to help you in your cancer battle. We are the only comprehensive cancer center in our region, as designated by the National Cancer Institute. We have more than 70 locations throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, with more than 200 oncologists – making it easier for you to find world-class care close to home. Our internationally renowned research team is striving to find new advances in prevention, detection, and treatment. Most of all, we are here for you. Our patient-first approach aims to provide you and your loved ones the care and support you need. To find a provider near you, visit our website.