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Understanding Your Results

If your results are normal, they will be mailed to you and your health care provider in approximately 3 weeks.

You may be asked to return for additional tests if we need to look more closely at a specific area of your breast. This does not mean a cancer was found – over 95% of those called for additional tests do not have cancer.

If additional images are needed, you'll be called directly by a diagnostic office to arrange an appointment for more tests.

Abnormal Results

About 10% of women will have an abnormal result because of changes seen on their screening mammogram. They will need further tests to find out what the changes are and to determine if treatment is needed. 

What does an abnormal result mean?
An abnormal result means that you need more tests to obtain a better view of your breasts to determine if any treatment is needed. There are several conditions that are not cancerous. They include conditions like cysts, fibroadenomas, or fibrocystic breast tissue. Additional testing helps to determine if any changes should be a concern.

It's important to remember that about 9 out of 10 women who are recalled do not have breast cancer.

Further Tests

Additional tests can include one or more of the following:

Diagnostic mammograms: takes x-rays of the area of concern.
Ultrasound: uses sound waves to produce an image of the area.
Needle Biopsy: takes sample of tissue from the area of concern.

This does not mean that a cancer was found – over 95% of those who are called for additional tests do not have cancer.

Your Next Mammogram

Once is not enough. Research has shown a 25% reduction in deaths from breast cancer among those who are screened every two years. BC Cancer Screening will send you a reminder letter when it's time for your next mammogram.

Fast Track

Fast Track is a province-wide initiative aimed at reducing the time between an abnormal result and further testing. To speed up the process, BC Cancer Breast Screening sends results directly to the physician and facilitates the referral for the first round of diagnostic testing. Once complete, the diagnostic results are sent to the physician. Please contact your health care provider for these results.

Contact with the Fast Track centre will happen as soon as possible. Patients usually receive their diagnostic tests faster than patients not participating in the Fast Track program. There may be some fluctuation in wait times for diagnostic follow-up based on availability of appointments, workforce shortages, or patient availability but the goal is to complete any additional imaging in a timely manner. The Fast Track centre will contact the health care provider if unable to reach the patient directly.

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