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Understanding Breast Changes: A Health Guide for Women

If you received an abnormal mammogram result, or noticed a change in your breast such as a lump, nipple discharge, or skin change – Understanding Breast Changes was written for you. Most abnormal mammogram findings do not turn out to be cancer. However, it is important to follow-up with your health care provider after an abnormal mammogram finding, or if you notice a breast change.

This guide presents information about:

  • Possible mammogram results
  • Follow-up tests such as an ultrasound, MRI, or breast biopsy
  • Breast and lymphatic system basics
  • Breast conditions and follow-up care, to talk with your health care provider about:
    • Breast changes during your lifetime that are not cancer (benign conditions)
    • Conditions that are not cancer such as cysts, fibroadenomas, and adenosis, among others
    • Conditions that are not cancer, but may increase your risk of breast cancer, such as ALH, ADH, and LCIS
    • Conditions that are not cancer, but may turn into cancer if not treated such as DCIS
    • Breast cancer

Additional breast cancer-related resources are also included.

The information in this booklet was last updated in February 2014.