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Asymmetry on first screening mammogram. Scared. Please help.


I'm 40 and got my first screening mammogram (3D) a few days ago. They found a "small lateral asymmetry best seen on CC tomosynthesis" on my left breast. They didn't see any microcalcifications. They captured a few extra images, so I'm guessing they saw it on multiple ones.

The BIRADS score is 0, which means they need additional imaging. From my research, I'm guessing it's because they just need more information to make an assessment. I'm scheduled for a follow up scan in a few weeks (!)

BUT, I can't stop spiraling.

I'm terrified. I have two young kids and the though of leaving them motherless is unbearable. I know it could totally be nothing, and it's not likely to be cancer, but I can't stop thinking the worst case scenario. I have "heterogeneously dense" breasts which mean mammograms have a higher chance of false positive and false negative rates. So does this mean that I might have masses that are just not identifiable at this time?

Please help. Reassurance? Any statistics to give me more information? Stories?


  • skyefall
    skyefall Member Posts: 18

    Hi. I’m so sorry you are having to wait for the extra views. I feel like that’s the worst part.

    So, BIRADS0 simply means they don’t have enough info to make a determination. They will usually schedule the next mammo with ultrasound. That’s what they did for me.

    if it’s something - which still may be nothing - they may have you move on to a biopsy.

    My sister in law needed more views which went to a biopsy. It was nothing.

    My farriers wife only needed more views on her first mammo ever - it was nothing.

    I had asymmetry after 10 years of mammos. It was something.

    I think with the first round of mammos ever there is often a call back because they want to be extra careful. There are no films to compare anything to so they want to keep looking.

    I totally understand the spiraling. Try to remember that statistically you have a better chance of nothing than something.

    I first was scheduled weeks out but called the imaging center and asked to be put on a cancellation list to get in sooner. It worked and I had my info in one week vs. several.

    Something that also helped me was to sit on my lawn in the back yard and visualize healing golden light all through my chest to hold everything in place and heal what may be going on. Maybe it was a 5 minute time out for my anxiety or feeling like I was helping myself, but that little time out when I was scared really helped.

    Hang in there.

  • machito
    machito Member Posts: 2

    @skyefall Thank you so much for your response! And thank you for sharing your story. I'm sorry to hear that the asymmetry on your mammo ended up being something. Would you mind me asking if there were other findings along with it?

    Are additional views and an ultrasound standard follow up in this case? Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but it seems like a lot. But perhaps they just want to be efficient?

  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 370

    Being called back on your first mammo is very common. After all they have nothing to compare your pictures to. I was called back on my first one. They ended up doing a diagnostic and then an ultrasound. I was so horrifically stressed and had PTSD from the experience for years. Anyway, it was nothing. I did end up getting diagnosed with breast cancer but it wasn't until eight years later and had nothing to do with the areas they needed to investigate.

  • skyefall
    skyefall Member Posts: 18

    I’m happy to share, but I don’t know that it will put you at ease.

    The finding for me was a shadow and that was the asymmetry. The radiologist was good and she had to work especially hard to find the 1.9 cm mass that was hiding in the shadow.

    I’m honestly not sure someone as good as she was would have found it.

    Please let me know what other things you are thinking of and I can let you know my experience. But, every one of us has a different story and for me, reading too much into other experiences has not always been great.

    I’ll still answer anything you want to know!!! All my stuff is recent in the last 6 weeks…

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 170

    Hi @machito. Worry is a normal reaction and our minds can go a bit wild when we go down the “what if” road. We usually start planning our funeral. I’m really sorry for all your anxiety!! Once you get your additional imaging and more information it will hopefully calm your fears. As suggested by @skyefall you may get a sooner appointment if you get on a cancellation list. It’s worth a try. I just scheduled my next mammogram but it’s many months out because they are extra busy so the scheduler told me to call every day at 8am to see if there are cancellations and she can get me in that day. I plan on doing that!!

    I also have dense breasts. I had my first mammogram while in my mid 30’s because I noticed a rather large lump-ridge in my left breast that the doctor thought felt ok but said let’s be sure so I had a mammogram and ultrasound and it was normal. I’ve lived with that lump-ridge all these years.

    I didn’t get another mammogram until my early 40’s and as they were taking the images, the technician forewarned me that because I had dense breasts they would probably call me back, which they did and everything was fine. I never saw the radiologist’s report so I don’t know what they described to warrant calling me back.

    In my last yearly mammogram (Oct 2022) they called me back for my left breast - Birads 0 - “nodular densities” that they wanted spot compression views and an ultrasound. It’s the same area I’ve known about for 15 years. It now has a little cyst in it but it’s still fine. They’ve been monitoring it.

    Most of us posting here actually do or did have breast cancer so our perspective is based on our experiences and we don’t want to add to your fear. It seems like it’s common to get called back and even when they notice something, the majority of those findings turn out to be benign. But yikes! this is nerve-wracking for us!!

    Everything feels so lumpy all the time in my dense breasts and I always wondered if I would ever be able to tell if I got a new lump. But yes, it was super obvious, unmistakable and my doctor could feel it also. I found it by accident while soaping up in the shower. It was in my right breast which is now gone (5 weeks ago).

    It’s so different for everyone though. This was just my limited experience, for what it’s worth. I’m glad I got mammograms and I wish I knew to ask for more screening imaging because I have dense breasts. I live in Vermont USA and they passed a law requiring most insurers to also cover ultrasound screening for people with dense breast tissue but my doctor never discussed it with me and I never asked either. But now I know to keep a careful watch on my left breast!

    Hang in there and we are all hoping this turns out to be nothing for your sake!!!