The Dreaded Mammogram Call Back

Carolyn Vachani, RN, MSN, AOCN

I started breast cancer awareness month off with a smush, getting my annual mammogram. Everything went smoothly until I got the call every woman dreads. The “we just need to take a few more pictures, can you come back” call. Now, I know better than to get nervous. I know the statistics – some 90% of callbacks turn out to be nothing. Luckily, my return visit was only a few days after, so not much time to over think it. Then I got there.

Enter the mammography waiting area in October and you are surrounded by pink ribbons- you can’t help but think about the reason we do these tests and the possibilities of these additional pictures finding something more.

I am escorted to the worried waiting room- oh, I mean the “diagnostic” waiting room. You see, the gals getting potential problems evaluated are segregated from the common folk. Looking around I see nothing but worry on the faces of my co-waiters. I can’t help but start to worry a little myself.

I’m called to the mammogram room where the kind technician gets me set up for the pictures. Seems there are more ways to take a boob picture than I ever knew. As I am hugging the cold machine I look over at the control panel and see my troublesome digital pictures on the screen. There is my breast with a white circle surrounding the area of concern. Seeing it like this gives me a sudden pang of fear – but come on Carolyn, you know you shouldn’t worry until you have something to worry about! But how can you help it? The odds are overwhelmingly in my favor – remember the 90% number – but we have been trained to live in fear. I am a victim of the pink ribbon culture.

The constant pink ribbon in your face (there were ribbons on my eggs this morning!) has become a fad and has created an environment of unfounded fear. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s great that women don’t hide breast cancer, that we get our mammograms and that we support our friends and family who fight this disease. But this pink culture has watered down what it means to support our friends and family – wearing a pink ribbon really doesn’t HELP someone – running an errand for them, cooking a meal or just giving them an ear to talk to does. And at the same time we are fed some unrealistic fears that we are all destined to get our own breast cancer diagnosis.

So, if you ever get that dreaded call back, here are the facts:

  • 90% of call backs will be given the all clear with additional mammogram pictures and, in some cases, an ultrasound.
  • If the call back results in the need for a biopsy, know that 4 out of 5 biopsies are negative for cancer.
  • The odds are in your favor, and you should not worry until you have something to worry about. I know, easier said than done.

I waited patiently in the worried waiting room until the radiologist appeared and called me out to the hall. She smiled and said, “everything is ok, it was just some glandular tissue. We’ll see you next year”.

If I get called back next year, I hope I can heed my own advice.

Addendum: There have been a few comments about the results and BI-RADS categories. You may find this article helpful in explaining what they mean.

124 thoughts on “The Dreaded Mammogram Call Back

  1. I just got a call back from a mammogram for “more pictures”. I am terrified. This article actually made me laugh “the worried waiting room”. Thank you for that.

  2. I just got the “call back”- which for some dumb reason I feel like I was almost expecting? But this article made me relax (a tiny bit) So now I wait…

  3. I went for my annual screening 2 weeks ago and 1 week ago received a message from my doctor’s office wanting to know if I had set up my ultrasound yet? My response was “I did not know I needed an ultrasound.” I am a nurse and actually use to work for my doctor so I asked for my results to be emailed to me. My results show just some scattered areas of fibroglandular densities and the area of concern is an “irregular” focal asymmetry. Now as a nurse I know the statistics for call backs and the results. But I also know that irregular is not good. So for the past week I have worried, not worried telling myself it is just probably some dense tissue or cyst and back to worrying again. My ultrasound is not scheduled until next week. Which has given me more time to go from one way of thinking about it to another.

    1. My ultrasound is scheduled for June 1st. I was not concerned the last two times, in a row, that I required f/u tests and then a biopsy each time. Biopsies were fine. The last mammogram was the 6 month f/u on the one breast I have been having boob malfunctions with.
      This time, for some reason, I feel nervous/scared. Idk why. The 2 prior biopsies have both been fine. I am trying NOT to be so self absorbed, but I am. Very embarrassed.

      1. Pam, I’m right there with you. I’ve had 2 mammograms @41 and at 42 and both times I was called back for a biopsy. Waiting for the results now. It’s discouraging to think every time I go for a screen I will ultimately be biopsied. I’m going to have clips(markers) all over the place if the trend continues. I know it’s important but I’m already tired of getting stabbed in the boob.

  4. I got the call back on Thursday. I go in tomorrow. Of course, I am researching which led me to your article. Thank you. Although, I know it is going to be found fine time is moving very slow. You have given me reassurance needed.

  5. I just got my call back this morning. I go tomorrow for the ultrasound. I know I have a fibroadenoma in my right breast that has been watched on and off. I know it’s probably nothing, I’ve been through this before. But I still can’t help but worry. Your article relaxed me the tiniest bit. But we all know it’s hard.

  6. Had my routine 3D screening October 16, got called back same afternoon. They couldn’t fit me in for diagnostic and ultrasound until October 30. Having had a mastectomy for DCIS on the right side in 2017, I had full confidence that my “good girl” on the left wouldn’t give me any trouble, as it never has. Making myself sick with the “what if’s”. I keep returning to this article, which helps a little–thanks!

  7. I am with Rhetta. As a cancer survivor, lumpectomy A1 Braca negative, Onco-score 9, I am shaking when I even go for the test. Last year, I got a call back and had to wait a WEEK. I was on the ledge, my primary care said “from the result, I think it was the way they did the film” AND it was, but Rhetta and I know what is “entailed” with surgery and the horrible 5 year drug we are on. Good article, but hard to take its advice.

  8. My wife is in with the techs, texting me the play by play as I’m waiting in the lobby. I read on the door “patients only”. I pull up the hospitals Wi-fi searching sites that resemble our situation. I read the facts and odds but still have zero comfort that those overwhelming odds have a chance of lousy news. I say a silent prayer and cross my fingers and wait, and wait, still no answer… so then I panic as no news at this point isn’t good news. She’s there all alone and I can’t do anything. I silently wipe a tear as I don’t know how to deal. Is she ok, is she hearing the crazy news she’s been stressing over for the past two weeks. I’m not a weeper but as I write I find myself loosing it. I suppose I don’t tell her enough how much she means to me. I’m writing and look up and she’s standing there with a big grin. The shadow the size of a quarter wasn’t what they thought it could be. She’s got a clean bill of health. She looks at me and says our term of endearment “idiot” why are you crying. I hug her and shake my head. “I love you babe”. And we go on our merry ways. What an ordeal. They need a pill for guys like me.

    1. Wonderful your wife got a clean bill of health , I loved your comments an wanted to tell you it lifted my spirits.

    2. Mark
      Hey Dude you are an AWESOME Human and Husband! You are hereby inducted into the ‘Awesome Human/Husband’ Wall if Fame.
      I’m married to an Awesome Human/Husband too!
      High 5 to your lovely wife for her choice of SO!

    3. I am so happy that all is well. I am single, by choice. Reading your comment made me wish I had a partner who cared so much.
      The stress affects the patient AND the loved ones.
      Oh, happy day!!!

  9. Thank all of you for your notes regarding that dreaded call back. Facing the same, but having to wait till Monday after Thanksgiving feels like eternity. Being 66 is not in my favor. Being a nurse is sometimes not a good thing. Thank you for honesty and realize I am not alone.

    1. I’m 66 too. Call bs I after 2nd 3D mammogram. I had to wrangle the info out of the nurse. Something was seen beneath the right nipple. What is this something? Called to schedule ultrasound and nobody answered or called me back. I’m terrified. The waiting is unbearable. Any suggestions!

      1. Kim, I would try calling again today. At our center there is a nurse who makes these calls – she deals with scheduling all follow-up tests. That’s how common it is – a full-time person doing that job! Hang in there- we’re sending you good wishes for a speedy appointment and good results 🙂

        1. Ok, that makes me feel even better knowing that a nurse has a full-time job of calling people back! Thanks for mentioning that.

  10. Thank you! I just got the callback today on my 50th birthday ! I’ve never had a callback before and I just needed some reassurance!

  11. I just got the dreaded call back. My mother and sister have both had breast cancer. Fortunately for me I go back Friday. Do they usually tell you right away? If you need a biopsy is it done there or by your Dr.? Prayers for anyone waiting…..

    1. I too just got the “call back” after waiting 11 days for mammogram results. This is the 3rd time I’ve had the “call back” and it scares the heck out of me again. I was told had to wait until Dec. 11 for re-imaging but as I was transferred back & forth, they got me in this Monday. Gee, only have to wait 4 days to go. I lost my husband to cancer 4 years ago so of course I’m freaking out. I don’t feel so alone with so many others that go through this. I hope we are all okay.

  12. I had my mammogram on Tuesday Nov 12. Got the dreaded phone call yesterday. They have found a nodule on the left breast that was not there my last mammogram. I go tomorrow for a diagnostic mammogram and an ultra sound. It scares me they are moving so fast but I am also happy they are moving so fast. I feel great other than having small bouts of having trouble taking deep breaths. I thought my breathing issues was anxiety but now I wonder if it is from another reason. I know I keep thinking of all the little aches and pains I have had in the past, which is doing me no good. I am just very thankful that I don’t have to wait long.

    1. Hang in there Christy! It is hard to not put the cart before the horse, but for sanity’s sake – try not to get ahead. Most things turn out to be nothing but anxiety-producing headaches. Sending lots of good thoughts to everyone posting ?

    2. I had a mammogram on the Nov 29th got a call back for a mammogram and ultrasound on the 25th got a call from my doctor today need to do a biopsy..I am so scared the look on the radiology face o the call back and I the in-depth gave me the gut feeling something may be wrong..see the face on my doctor for the result scared me too just happen to be researching and came across your website…I am now waiting to get a biopsy done ..the wait is killing me now

    3. HI! I know it’s been awhile since your post about the nodule, but I was wondering what you ever found out? I just got a call back from my 3d mammo and they found two developing nodules in the right breast I have to go have rechecked. Trying to get the orders in to set that up. I am going crazy with the anxiety of it all!

  13. Thank you for this post! I had my annual screening on the 14th, two days after finishing 10 years of Tamoxifen, of which I missed only one pill, due to a surgery. I received the call back the next morning. Yes, I am panicked, I can’t help it. I am scheduled for the 20th, with a possible ultrasound, based on results. I am hoping and praying it is nothing serious. My husband is definitely feeling the anxiety as well, much like “Mark” in the previous post. Mark thank you for sharing your story and the results. My hubby and I are very encouraged for the best!

    1. Here is my update! Good news, no cancer! I went back for the callback, got the mammogram which led to an ultrasound revealing a black grey spot. The physician said it could be a cyst but needed to verified what it was. So he went in to see if it was fluid-filled with the potential of a biopsy. Sure enough, it was a cyst and no biopsy was needed. The fluid came out clean with no blood, so I only need an annual mammogram unless I fine something with self-examination. The hold time felt like a very close call, but boy oh boy I am relieved. Bless you, all, and remember the benefits of early detection, keeps getting better as medical technology advances. Hugs!

      1. Great news Dawn!! Mammogram isn’t a great test due to all these false scares, but it is the best we have for early detection. And yes, the technology has improved over the years and research continues to look for better ways to detect problems early.

  14. Well…I guess I’m now an official member of the “dreaded call back” group…got mine today. My mammogram was this past Thursday. It’s amazing how the mind works once you get “that” call. I knew what number to look for on my phone and sure enough, there it was. I froze but knew I had to answer. It just seems surreal right now. I’m thinking…not me…but then…why not me. Prayers for all of you waiting in limbo.

  15. Hi all I got my first mammogram on Nov 5th 2019..exactly a week to that day I got the letter to go back… An I’m there tomorrow morning at 9.30…I’m so terrified was me that chased them for my screening …I’m 52yrs an 4months …good luck to all of you ladies waiting xx

  16. I got the call today from my PCP telling me they were setting up an ultrasound. It’s the weekend, so I know this call to do this test will most likely be scheduled sometime next week. Anyway, I’ve had cyst before and it even went to the point of draining and biopsy. Nothing to worry about at the time. I have, however, never had a call to come back for an ultrasound. So needless to say, I’m a bit concerned, but trying to get past it and have a good weekend. Only time will tell and the good Lord who answers all of our prayers. So, it is what it is. I will await an answer and just go from there.

  17. Hi guys! I’m 54 and only got called back once: after my very first mammogram. Just got the call yesterday for this latest one. I go on Dec 9. I’m not overly worried, but my mind always go to the “what if.” This article and all of your posts have lifted me up!!

    1. I got a call back today and back Monday. I was diagnosed and had surgery for colon cancer in May. I was luck. They were able to remove the tumor. It wasn’t in any limp nodes so I had no chemo or radiation. My daughter-in-law was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast around this time last year at 34. After chemo, double mastectomy, and radiation she is in remission. I’m pretty scared for sure. I’m not going to share anything with anybody now.

  18. Went for my annual mammogram Nov 28th. Received a call this morning to come in for more pictures on Dec 5th.
    I know the odds seem in my favor but my mom had breast cancer when she was 40, had one breast removed
    and lived to 93. My sister at age 72 was diagnosed with ovarian cancer Aug 2015 and passed on 7 months later after
    an awful battle.
    Even with this, I will ‘purposely’ think positive ….. and trust in my lord to walk with me on either path.

  19. Had my mammogram on 11/25. Received the call back notice on Saturday, 11/30. Got a little run around yesterday when I called to schedule the ultrasound, but the figured it out, and I go in tomorrow, 12/4. Googling and reading, somewhat comforted by the statistics. But for a woman over 60, who consumed alcohol daily (just passed 3 months sober) the statistics aren’t quite as good. We joke that ‘worry’ is my middle name…I will be happy when the appointment is over tomorrow…and I get confirmation that everything is fine. ????????

  20. I had my annual mammogram on November 27. I received a call this afternoon while at lunch to come in for an ultrasound. Was told my left breast shows some changes from last year (thickening). I just turned 55 end of October. This is my second time being called back. Last October I was asked to come back as my breasts showed calcifications for the first time. Everything was fine then. Hoping this time it is also.

    I also have to have an ovarian cyst removed. My previous gynecologist had been watching it. Now it’s at a size that needs to be removed. Dr. also wants to remove the ovary with it.

    I am more nervous about my breast than the cyst on my ovary as my previous doctor said my ovarian cyst is not cancer.

  21. I got my first 3D mammogram two days ago. I’ve been having pain along with other symptoms in my left breast. Today I get a call to go back and get another mammogram plus an ultrasound. They say there’s one specific area they need to look at. I’m trying not to freak out but with my symptoms and the call back, it’s difficult. I’m scheduled to go back on Christmas eve. I’m on a cancelation list so hopefully I can get in sooner!!

    1. I’ve been getting 3D mammograms for several years now. I just had it done on Friday Dec 6th. My husband & I went on a trip on Monday and had just checked into our hotel on when I got my first ever call back. I’m going in the 16th for a diagnostic mammogram & an MRI and I’m terrified!!! Reading all of your comments has sure helped. I’m praying for all of us to get positive results! Bless you all!

  22. I have been reading on call backs for more imaging since I got mine last Wednesday, just 4 days after my mammogram. When I found this page of is like reading my own thoughts. I am 46. My Mum was 47 when she was diagnosed and fought for 15 years but it came back and we lost her. My appointment for another mammogram and ultrasound is tomorrow and I can not sleep. My husband died 11 years ago and I am terrified to leave my daughters and my granddaughter. Ugh this is limbo hell

  23. I have been called back five times. I have had several biopsies which comes back negative every time. I average about every three years a “call back”. It doesn’t even bother me any more. They have been trying to find something in my breast now for 15 years! I sometimes wonder if it isn’t so the insurance can make more money!
    Wish me luck!

  24. I’m 45 and got my callback 2 days ago. Haven’t had a mamo in 3 years so having my last films sent over for comparison. They found an 8mm mass in my right breast in the same spot I had a cyst about 9 years ago. Now, my head is telling me not to worry but I’m absolutely freaking out. I can’t eat, I have nightmares, I feel sick at my stomach. Why can’t I snap out of this?

  25. Got my first ever call back this afternoon to do a 3D mammogram and ultrasound on left breast. I am scared to death and the soonest is a week from today! No family history but I’ve had some odd pain in that breast the last couple months at times. I’m trying to keep myself together but how do you not worry!

  26. 3 days after my mamo I got the call back. They want more pictures, apparently compared to the first one I did 2 years ago it’s asymmetrical. I got a call on Dec 31, to book not only a repeat mammogram but also an ultrasound. What???? I’m scared. The person on the phone said lots of people get called and they just want to be extra sure so they are adding the ultrasound. I go on January 23rd So difficult to stop thinking about it

    1. Mercedes, I know it is so anxiety-provoking. They do usually plan for the US just in case, but often don’t even need it once they see the second mammo pictures. And when the time comes, for most women who have the ultrasound, nothing is found. Just lots of anxiety-producing moments! It may be worth calling back to see if you can come sooner so you don’t have to worry so long. 2 weeks+ seems like a long time to wait and not really fair to you!

      1. Thank-you for your support Carolyn. Trying to stay positive, but my mind keeps running in circles. I couldn’t get an earlier appointment, I’ll be doing the tests in 3 days and I’ll keep you posted on the results. In the past when my doctor would do manual breast exams on me she would always tell me I have a lot of fibrous tissue. Hoping that’s what will show in these additional tests.

        1. My results are in after the call-back. What a crazy day it was yesterday. I did a 3D mammogram and an Ultrasound was done by the Radiology Doctor. She told me that she saw nothing worrisome, but she did find 2 small cysts and wants to repeat the mammogram and US in 6 months. I know many women have cysts and its not anything serious. Feeling grateful that I’m being closely monitored and if ever there is something that becomes worrisome, well they’ll get it at the earliest stage! Letting go of the stress, and staying positive and enjoying every day of my life 🙂

      2. Thank you for what you said My second one is scheduled for Monday im so afraid i hate waiting my doctor said i was a symmetric with a tiny pin point dot ??

  27. Thank you for the article. I’m 48. I had my annual 3D mammo and got a call back. I go in for a diagnostic mammo and ultrasound on January 10th. This is my 2nd call back in 8 years. I was able to read the radiology report and it says architectural distortion possible spiculated mass right BI-RADS 0. Not sure what that means but it sounds scary. I’m having trouble thinking about anything else right now.

    1. I just had mine done on Wednesday and read the report and it states “architectural distortion” and BIRAD 0. Nobody has contacted me yet as it’s the 4th of July long weekend but the report states needs follow up of diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. How did yours turn out. I’m a mess. I’ve been up all night googling.

  28. Well I am not sure how not to feel anxious. I got the first call back and was suppose to have the 3D mammo and an ultra sound if the 3D showed anything. The tech comes in and says they are not going to do an ultra sound, I need to go out and tell them at the desk I need an MRI with and without contrast. I suppose I should try not to worry and I try to keep myself occuppied but I cant help but worry. I now have to wait until Jan 27th for the MRI.

  29. Just wanted to share my first mammogram came back and the borders were undifferentiated and 5 mm. Being a RN and knowing about borders I thought for sure I had cancer. My diagnostic mammogram showed the borders to be circular and a cyst. I go back in 6 months to check on the cyst. Thanks for the blog.

  30. I had a mammogram one time when I was 23, I had just had a baby and had gotten an MRI and they found a lump in my breast so recommended that I go in for a mammogram, I did and it ended up being nothing, just a clogged milk duct. I turned 40 in August and received a call from the Breast Care Center last week stating that my dr had put in a referral for my mammogram in light of me turning 40. Therefore, I went on Friday for a 3D exam and within 3 hours had a letter by email stating that there was a finding and I need to go back in for more testing. My heart sank, never expected news like that. First thing yesterday morning they called and said I need to come in for an ultrasound, when I asked what was going on she said they would explain everything when I come in. The soonest they could get me in was this Friday so I have 2 more days. I am nervous! I was researching when I found your article. Trying so hard not to let my anxiety get the best of me and this article helped. Wish me luck!

  31. We should start a “call back” page on Facebook. Had my first 3-D mammogram on Friday, 1/10/20 and received the callback yesterday. I go tomorrow for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. The girl said since my last mammogram was in 2016 there have been some changes. Like the rest of you, I’m trying not to panic, but it is very difficult. My sister survived breast cancer 10 years ago.

  32. The radiologist asked for more images and sent me for an ultra sound of my lymph nodes which were all clear. They also scheduled a biopsy before I left. I’m trying not to worry but I don’t think that’s possible. My mom had bc at 65 and I’m same age now. I’m hoping they’re just being cautious. It feels better to put it in writing…thanks for listening.

  33. I’m wishing you positive results, Arleen. Even though it’s hard, try not to worry. I go tomorrow for more images after my call-back last Thursday. So, I feel your stress, but we’ve got this!! Good luck to YOU!

  34. I had my first 3D Mammogram mid Jan…right after my 55th Bday. I got the call back 2 wks later for another Mammogram and Ultrasound…but they couldn’t get me in until Feb. 11th, which had made for a 2 wk wait. My last Mammo was 2D 3 1/2 yrs ago and was at a different hospital..and I have dense fibrous tissue and calcifications so I’m praying it was just the difference between 2 types of Mammograms and slight changes over 3 yrs from perimenopause to menopause as of last year. I don’t smoke and no family history of bc that I know of. But I’m still terrified! Thank you for all the does help!

  35. I had my 3D mammogram on 2/6 and just got a call back from my doctor that it came back as “2 probable cysts in right breast so need to have ultra sound to verify” It’s Friday so I don’t when my ultra sound will be. I’m a wreck because my mom had breast cancer at 47. Trying to stay positive.

  36. Mammogram yesterday. Call today. Couldn’t call them back until after school which means they are not there. Tomorrow is another day, right?

  37. I just turned 40 in November. I had my first ever mammogram Monday(2/16). today is wednesday, and my dr called to tell me they had found 2 tiny spots on my mammo… that they had me scheduled for a ultrasound on the 4th… I am freaking out u guys.. Thats almost 3 weeks away and I am really bad about overthinking things.. (haven’t told the hubby yet either…)

  38. Just got my first call-back at age 55. I have been really bad about getting mammograms, for a variety of reasons I thought valid at the time… so haven’t had one in several years. And I work in health care, I should “know better”. Someone told me that when you haven’t had one in awhile, they sometimes err on the side of “over cautious” because they don’t have anything recent to compare changes to. I get it. I’m in the waiting period – my extra images and US are tomorrow morning. I’m nervous, but after reading this article and all the comments, I know I’m not alone. Thanks for reminding me of the stats, even health care employees need to be reminded, your imagination can get wild during the waiting time! I feel like I’ve just joined a “sister club” of call-back waiters…. Thanks!

  39. I had my mammogram on Feb 10. Got the call yesterday to come back for diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. They said there is some asymmetry in my right breast. I can’t get in until March 5. I really wish I didn’t have to wait two weeks. I’m trying not to think too much but it’s easier said than done.

  40. I had my 1st mammogram 1 week ago. I’m 42 years old. The tech told me everything looked good. I got a call last Friday saying that I had a small amount of dense tissue in my left breast. They also said that they didn’t see any lumps but wanted to get another baseline to compare it to because it was my 1st ever mammogram. Does this sound normal?

  41. I had a mammogram yesterday and just got the call from my doctor’s nurse. He wants to be there for the second one, which should happen by early next week. I am trying not to freak out, but him wanting to be there is alarming.

  42. I’m turning 60 this year. Healthy all my life. Both my mother and sister survived breast cancer and so did my sisters daughter. Got my first callback. Have to go back Friday for more films and ultrasound. I have a trip of a lifetime planned for June. This can’t be happening.

    1. Had a follow up ( mammo /ultrasound) BIRAD4 – cluster amorphous calcifications. Now I’m scheduled for a stereotactic core biopsy in a week. NEVER google your results because it will make your mind go wild! I’m sure it will be fine but your mind does think what if I’m in that 10% of malignant diagnoses

  43. Grateful to have found this. Had my first mammogram two days ago at 41 – got the call back this morning, going in for more imaging tomorrow morning (I asked for first available). I had a cyst 15 years ago (diagnosed via ultrasound following a breast exam by my NP). I’m nervous but trying my best to be calm.

    1. Just had my f/u. Two issues identified. Dense tissue on one side deemed benign after ultrasound. Calcifications on other side that look ok now but they want me to f/u with a mammogram of that side in 6 months to make sure no changes. I did pretty well until I was told I had to wait for an ultrasound.

  44. I have a callback on Tuesday. I haven’t told anyone and am scared because I have pain where I’ve got a callback for, my right breast on the side by the armpit (and extending up into the shoulder). I had a breast reduction 2 years ago where they took off over 3 times the amount needed for insurance to cover. Both my breasts were very large, and even with all that taken off I’m still a size D. I know that realistically it could be scar tissue or fat necrosis. But, my sister-in-law is stage 4 and was stage 4 at diagnosis from pain in her breast when she was 36-years-old. This is why I haven’t told anyone- I don’t want to scare my husband who is already worried about his sister as she’s on yet another treatment – the last one available for her at this time. She’s going on four and a half years since diagnosis and running out of options. If this is nothing but scar tissue I will have worried him for no reason (and, even without his family history he is a worrier about things). He also leaves tomorrow for a business trip for the week, and my appointment is on the day after he leaves. I’m stressed- I have three kids, who are wonderful and the biggest blessing in my life. I’m scared. Please pray for me.

  45. I had a massage on Saturday. While she was working on my shoulders and upper chest, it seemed odd she was spending more time there. At one point she grabbed my hand and had me feel a spot. She didn’t speak English so that was difficult. After it was done and I was dressed, she came back and showed me with her hands on herself and then me to the same area. I tried to get someone to hopefully help with the language barrier but nothing. I was freaked out. I was able to book a mammogram for this morning (Monday) just 2 days after the massage. I went this morning and was done by 9:30. At 1:30 (4hours later), I got the call back. My heart sank. I’m scheduled to go next Monday to another facility for an ultrasound. Everything feels surreal to me at the moment. Thank you for this post, thread, laughter and words of wisdom from wonderful readers.

  46. Hi I am currently waiting to go back…as I have received “the call back”..
    I was told that I have Suspicious area on one of “my girls”:()
    However I have no lumps ..bumps..or any other type of visual symptoms….
    Anyway All I can say or rather Share..
    My favourite quote..
    “Faith is a place of mystery ,
    where we find the courage to believe
    In what we cannot see..
    And the strength to let go of our fear and uncertainty!”
    I hope that these words may assist you and truly wish you peace of mind and most of all ..positive healing outcomes in no matter what!!????

  47. So glad to find this thread. I had one call back in my 40s and panicked then, and it turned out to be ok. Now I’m 55 and got another callback. I was out skiing and saw the number on the cell phone, knew it couldn’t be good. Going in next Thursday for diagnostic mammogram. Just helps to know I’m not alone.

  48. I had my mammo yesterday and am having to go back for a spot compression and possible ultrasound. I am on high doses of anxiety medicine anyway so I am freaking out. My gynecologist said I have very dense breasts. Please pray if you will…Thank you

  49. I had my first mammogram and US in February of this year. I received a call from my doc that they needed additional images and basically needed to repeat the examinations. Silly me asked if cancer was suspscted and my not so compassionative doc said, “well, it starts that way”. I got really scared and my mind went down the rabbit hole. I went in for my f/u a few weeks ago and had a totally melt down before my mammo was done. The tech explained to me what they’re looking at and assured me that I’d be fine. As it turns out, I have dense breasts, a few cysts, both my lymp nodes were swollen and I probably fibroadenomas. Just received a letter stating I need to f/u in 6 months to repeat these exams. This is stressful, but my trusting God and speaking into existence that I will be fine. Wishing you all good health.

  50. I wanted to post a follow up and something about getting mammogram during the Covid-19 era. After delaying for six weeks, I finally went back for my diagnostic mammogram after getting a call back. I delayed because I was so worried about catching Covid-19. It turned out to be overlapping breast tissue, and because I went this week, the mammography center only had four patients the whole day. My primary doctor said it was probably the best time I could go because everyone has been staying at home and being extra careful. They were only doing mammograms for call backs and for women with suspicious lumps or abnormalities, so if that is you, I would encourage you to get it looked at. I’m really glad I went, as this had been hanging over me the last 7 weeks.

    1. I also cancelled my annual mammogram due to COVID-19!! So, I finally went on 4/30 for my screening! Saw the results letter on the “My Chart” app…spot on RIGHT breast need further evaluation. This is my second call back last year I was called back for density of the LEFT breast which turned out ok!! I go for my diagnostic mammogram on 5/8 and I have been a basket case since 4/30!!! Praying for normal results and trusting in God…but my human heart and flesh always think the worst! Thank you guys for sharing and I am praying for all of my “call-back sisters”!!

  51. I just got my call back. LIke the others I am terrified. Not sure if I should tell my husband, he will be supportive, but I don’t want to worry him. Husbands out there, would you want to know?

  52. I had my annual screening mammogram 5/26. On 5/27 I received “the call” to come back for additional views, spot compression and possible ultrasound. BI-RADS 0 w/ “possible architectural distortion” in the superior right breast, posterior depth. I am freaked out and filled with anxiety. My follow up appointment is on Monday, June 8th. I need to stop consulting Dr. Google because he is only making things worse.

    1. I had the same call back except they said at least three areas of possible architectural distortion then went on to designate the most significant area location followed up by the additional two other significant area locations. I had my screening mammo on 6/24/2021 amd won’t have my diagnostic follow up with ultrasound until 7/15/2021. To say I’m nervous is an understatement. I’ve never had a biopsy or surgery in either of my breasts. Looking forward to getting on with this and moving forward.

    2. Michele I had the same exact results I don’t know if you’ll get this because it’s 2 years later. I was wondering how things turned out for you? I go tomorrow for another mammogram and possible ultrasound.

  53. Had mild burning in my breast in May 2020. After a mammogram and ultrasound, my BI-RAD was a category 3. Doctor said I have two cysts in my right breast, but this wasn’t what the radiologist said. She said she noticed some nodular areas were seen and she wants me to have another ultrasound in 3 months and another mammogram in 6 months. Should I be worried? Thank you for your helpful posts about mammogram call backs. I wish all the woman who wrote in the best!

  54. Today was my 3rd, 6 month diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. 6 months ago, I had to go in for follow up biopsy which was (thankfully) benign. These diagnostics take about 2.5 hours – I’m told I have very “busy” breasts. I experience anxiety every time but have learned that talking about it helps. Last round, I told only my husband about the biopsy and spent the weeks leading up to it and the results riddled with anxiety and fear. When I got word I was “clear” and shared it with my close girlfriend’s I found that MANY of them (all late 40’s – early 50’s) had similar experiences. My advice is to breath deep, keep busy, and get support from your friends/family.

  55. I know this old, but I thought even if nobody reads it, maybe it will make me feel better. I got the dreaded “call back” today. I of course am worried and my husband basically just said, “Stop it.” He doesn’t understand, and I don’t have any friends, so I am pretty much alone. I have an aunt who understands, but she is miles away. I have to wait a week for the follow-up. This thread has helped. I hope all you ladies received good results.

      1. Thanks. I was able to get in on a cancellation so my follow-up is tomorrow! I have been exhausted and I can’t help but worry it is because I am sick. My husband says it is more likely that I am stressed from this. At least tomorrow I will have some answers. My original appointment wasn’t until next Wednesday!

  56. I had my yearly mammogram yesterday, and call back today for areas of suspicion. Having US, and a 3D test on Wed. I lost my mother, my mother-in-law and my only aunt this year, and my husband was just diagnosed with bone cancer. I’m a mess, even my hands are shaking. They say God will never give you more than you can bear, but this is more stress than I can handle. Your posts were all very helpful, and I know I’m not the only frightened woman out here. Can use your prayers?

    1. Karen:
      I was just coming to update on my situation and I think updating to you in the best thing for it. I was called back Wednesday after having my yearly mammogram Tuesday. I have had a few mammograms and I have never had a call back and I was a WRECK! I was scheduled for the follow-up next Wednesday but told I could call daily to check for cancellations. I lucked out and got to go today because they had a cancellation. As I walked out the door I tried to remind myself that this is after all why I go every year. So if there is something, it could be found early. I was still terrified, but I knew it had to be done. The wait when I arrived was terrible, about an hour later I was in the mammogram room with my breast on the screen as the technician showed me why I was there. They found a “distortion” that wasn’t there before. She explained they would flatten my breast as much as possible. If it is nothing, that will show nothing. If there really is something there then flattening won’t help and I will need an ultrasound. Once I was out of the painful device I was sent back to my little room and told not to dress until the doctor can look at the images. At this point I was a bit hopeful. They will see it really was nothing and I will be on my way. Imagine my horror when they came to get me for the ultrasound! I climbed up on the cold table now even more afraid. It took about 3 minutes to hear, “I see your problem. You have a cyst. Oh, look, there is another one.” I clarified what that meant and was told they could tell for sure it was a fluid cyst and they are common. They come and go, it might go away, it might get bigger, but it was nothing to worry about. She went and talked to the doctor and the doctor confirmed. I took a minute to feel relief and then I had a huge wave of empathy. I knew that today someone wasn’t getting as good as news as I was and I told myself I would update on this site to offer support. I don’t know what your results will be, but I do know there is at least a chance that no matter how scary it seems on the surface, it may just be them doing a great job at looking after your health. Telling you not to worry won’t help, you are going to worry, that is natural. But, please try not to let it take away all your joys. You don’t know anything right now. Focus on the “health” you have and let the doctors guide you if you do get poor news. Take care of yourself.

        1. Carolyn, reading what you originally wrote on this page from 2013 made me feel so much better I have to tell you that. I am 54 and rec’d a callback for asymmetry in the upper left breast it wasn’t there last year. This is my first callback so I am going on 8/8 for a diagnostic Mammo & US on just that one breast. I have googled asymmetry a lot & have seen how common it is. The part of your post where you said 90% are nothing, then the part about biopsies etc was encouraging. I am thinking positive but I am still scared. I was overdue for my screening Mammo & US due to Covid. This page and reading everyone’s comments are comforting and makes me feel even better & more optimistic.

  57. Hello all – thank goodness for this thread…I am 42 and got a call back Thursday after having my (only second annual) mammo on Tuesday. “Left upper quadrant density” was reported and what concerns me more is that I’ve been having, what I thought, was either menses or perimenopausal pain in that area the last few months. I had an endometrial ablation in November 2019 just after getting my first mammo, so have chalked the breast tenderness up to hormonal changes….I am so scared…and want to talk to friends/family but don’t want to burden or frighten them either. I am appreciative of this safe space to air out my thoughts and feelings….

      1. Laura how did your second test come out? I had my “call back” today as well. I was told density in my left breast. (I have dense breasts)

    1. If it helps, at all, my breast had been bothering me too, and I am almost 42. I also thought it was just hormonal. I ended up having cysts. It was my 3rd screening mammogram and my only call back. I was terrified! It just happened last week. Hang in there.

  58. Hello all,
    Went for my annual 3D and got my dreaded call back.
    In August I will be an 8 year survivor of an aggressive form of breast cancer. I opted for a lumpectomy, left breast after chemo. My call back is for the left breast… 😔 I have had my annuals every year and have never had a call back, so some concern is present. I have done my crying and let the important people in my life know.
    I know there is nothing that can be done until my appointment so I am trying hard not to let it get to me in the meantime.
    I made my peace 8 years ago, thankful for every day that I woke up since and feel very blessed …
    Hang in there and always stay positive!

  59. I had a mammogram last Friday and got the call back on Monday. I have never been called back before and I have had about 10 mammograms. Trying not to worry because there is nothing I can do until my appt on 8/6. I am on vacation next week so that is why I am waiting so long. I had “real” pain when they took the mammogram on that breast -never felt like that before. I had tenderness in that area afterwards but just thought it was from the mammogram or sunburn I had on Wednesday. But now more concerned since the dreaded phone call. I have only told my husband because I don’t want anyone else to worry. I am sure it is fine. Thanks for the comments and it does feel good knowing you are not alone.

  60. Hi all, I’m 43 years old. I had my first mammogram 2 years ago and no call back. I had my 2nd mammogram last Friday (5 business days ago) and got a call back yesterday. I was able to get an appointment first thing in the morning today. Before the tech proceeded to take more xrays she explained to me the Doc wanted more images of my left breast. After the xrays were done I was asked to wait about 15 minutes for the results. My name was called and I was told that an ultrasound is needed. I was so nervous and quietly panicking inside. After the ultrasound was done, the tech said she didn’t see anything. So I was immediately relieved but still worried for the final word. She said she will talk to the doctor, review the results, and see if the doctor needs more information. That was the longest five minutes ever. As soon as the tech came back and opened the door she said you’re results are normal. She handed me a piece of paper with the doctor’s signature saying the results are normal. I was in tears. I wanted to hug her but due to covid of course it’s not an option. I want to THANK YOU for having this blog up and sharing your experiences, my mind was racing last night. Honestly, this blog helped me keep somewhat sane. Thank you!

  61. I just had my mammogram 1.5 weeks ago. We moved from Minnesota to Florida and I had ask my Minnesota doctor to send the report and imagines only the report was sent. I had stage one breast cancer 4 years ago. Estrogen driven due probably to me taking estrogen for 12 years due to my full hysterectomy 12 years earlier. The cancer was very small didn’t spread . I had radiation therapy. The radiologist gave me the all clear and said ” it looked like a breast that had gone thru radiation and notice the scare tissue on the one area. She said she didn’t see any cancer but may want more pictures once my previous images arrive. They did arrive and today they called and asked me to come in Monday for more images. I am so worried, scared, nervous. Why do they need more images if she saw no cancer? Can’t stop shaking.

  62. I received a call back but mine was to find a doctor and have a biopsy done. I am scheduled for Tuesday and scared to death. Doctor said “it doesn’t look bad”.
    The birads is level 4.

  63. I know many Asian women have dense breast tissue and I am also one of them. I received my annual 3D mammogram on January 7th and received a terrifying call on January 12th. I had to wait about a month for the second mammogram. I was very nervous and couldn’t focus on anything in January. Finally, today (February 5th) I had the second mammogram and ultrasound. The radiologist said, “Good news. Your chest is normal.” I knew that my chest was very dense, but I was really scared. I can sleep well tonight. While waiting for the second mammogram, I read these comments repeatedly and calmed down. Thanks everyone.

  64. I received my first dreaded callback after 12+ years of mammograms. I am a worrier by nature but this has me freaking out. I’m 55 & it’s asymmetry in the left breast. I had my covid shot on the left arm 6 weeks ago so I’m hoping that is what they see. I haven’t told my sis or BF — I don’t want them to worry – but this article and the comments have helped calm me a bit. I will try to focus on the odds being in my favor. Five more days and I’ll know for sure.

    1. Christine, your story sounds exactly like mine! I have been having mammograms for many years without issues (going to be 54 in August) and received my dreaded call last week for a follow-up on July 2nd. I too had received a COVID shot in my left arm about six weeks prior and was wondering about that since the asymmetry is in my left breast too. It’s stressful, but I keep thinking the odds are in our favor. Good luck!

  65. I got a callback 2 days after my exam on March 15th. The callback appointment isn’t until May 10th!! I am aware of the statistics but still that is a long time to have to think about it. They found a lump that I am actually able to feel as well so of course I am pretty concerned. I called my doctor to see if there’s any chance of getting a sooner call back appointment but he said that this should be just fine. Just because he says that doesn’t take the worry away though, I’m sure you all know where I’m coming from. Wanted you to know that this article did help to lessen my stress. Thank you for that.

    1. That is horrible to wait so long. I too just had one a week ago. Of course had a 3d but still have to go back for my left one. I did have a cyst way back many years ago, but it is still nerve racking. Have faith and know God has your back. Had a beautiful friend who told me once if it happens to be bad news people always say why me, but she said why not me. I can’t get in till October 13.

  66. I loved this article! Thank You!! Ive had breast cancer twice…..well the first was in 2014 and then again last year, which ended with a mastectomy. So i had two call backs, but i really tried to look at each day by itself and no further. I have great support especially my hubby and it makes a huge difference.
    You really nailed it when you said the pink ribbons do nothing. Id much rather have my bestie or anyone call me up to chat or bring me a coffee than buy a ribbon etc…
    Anyone who is getting a diagnosis or called back, just breathe it one day, one step at a time, make sure you have someone who will be there for you and take time to process… will have alot of info given to you. Be positive and do good things for yourself!!

  67. So glad to read this. I had my first mammogram last year and was called back for an ultrasound and then a fine needle biopsy on a mass. I. WAS. TERRIFIED. But it turned out to be nothing. Today, I had my second mammogram and the results this time were a Focal Asemmytry on my right breast – the same one I had the benign cyst in. I’m trying to stay calm and hold myself over to my next follow up. I had an all clear once – here’s hoping I get an all clear the second time around!

  68. I’m sitting here in my chair in the living room waiting for my appointment this afternoon, I had a mammogram April 5 and not hearing anything for two weeks, I got the call finally, in Ontario we get a letter in the mail because we are part of the Ontario breast screening program, I’m 62 with a family history mother and sister and aunt so naturally when they called me two weeks later to come in for another mammogram and ultrasound I was terrified and have been for a week now that was last Tuesday, today is the day I go back and it’s been an awful week and naturally doctor google doesn’t help I feel like I am practically a specialist with all the reading I have been doing, I have been unable to sleep and I suffer from medical anxiety to begin with, I’m also very superstitious I feel that this time I jinxed myself because I always have my annual mammogram to the month and day but because of backlog from Covid they couldn’t get me in until April, usually I go end of Dec, so that’s 15 months instead of 12 months and naturally I think oh boy something developed, everyone around me can offer reassuring words but you are the one that is going through it you are inside your own body and know what’s going on I have been spending my time reading all your stories and it’s very reassuring to me that this is a very common thing that happens.

    1. So glad you found us Sue! It is so interesting to read about experiences in other countries. We are thinking of you today!
      –OncoLink Team

  69. I am 69 years old female with dense breast tissue. I go for a repeat mammogram tomorrow and am a nervous wreck. They state that my mammogram shows something suspicious on my right breast, which is asymmetrical. I don’t have any symptoms or family history of breast cancer but based on my research I see where that could mean nothing. I am trusting God for a good report but the human side does set in. Reading the stories on this site gives me some relief as it’s good to know I am not alone. I have not shared this with any of my family members or friends yet so it’s good to be able to share my experience on here. This is my second call back. Last year I was called back so that they could do an ultrasound to give them a better view of my breast tissue because they are so dense. That resulted in a normal mammogram. I am praying for the same results this time🙏🏾 I probably need a 3D mammogram from now since my breasts are so dense. Praying for a good report for everyone on here who are still waiting too. We got this

    1. Good afternoon. My results are in after my call back. I received good news. The results were negative no suspiciousfindings. Praise God🙌🏾 I was advised to return in 6 months for a follow up. Praying for good results for everyone who are still waiting. I now can identify with your everyone who are still waiting. I can now say I know how you feel. My anxiety level was through the roof the whole time.

  70. I promised myself after I got through the dreaded call back that I would post something to help others out there. I had a routine 3D mammo done and the next day I got a call saying it was inconclusive and the radiologist needed to take a closer look. My mom was just diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer so I was already anxious . But more than that being a new mom all the horrible thoughts went through my head and I made the mistake of googling “architecture distortion.” We all not to do it but we all do it. I didn’t sleep for five days and was basically hyperventilating the entire time until my diagnostic mammo and ultrasound. Yea the radiologist recommended both. Throughout the process everyone had a poker face and no one said much. Finally the radiologist said under her breath… I don’t really see anything…. literally started tearing up. I asked if I could hug her and she said not yet as she wanted to do a few more passes of the wand. I said more prayers. Talked to my dad in heaven again and then she said…. I just don’t see anything. There’s a little spot that looks weird but I think that’s just you! Okay I’ll take it!!!!! The nurse afterwards said that if any little things looks off from the prior mammo they want to be sure. Maybe the tech positioned my boob wrong, maybe the compression wasn’t enough… the point is. Ladies – don’t make yourself sick with worry as most times the call back is purely to err on the safe side!!!!

  71. I have never had breast cancer, have no family history, live a pretty healthy lifestyle, and I get a screening mammogram every one to two years. I was called back after my last THREE screening mammograms (at same hospital facility). Yes, it is terrifying, made worse by the fact that my crisis is clearly not their crisis and it’s impossible to get that call back appointment for at least 3 weeks. Thankfully, they never found anything, but the anxiety makes for a miserable month.

    After the first call back, I was told to request my mammogram on the 3D machine in the future, which I did, and was still called back the next two times. The call back mammogram is considered “diagnostic”, costs more and is not covered by insurance like the screening mammogram. I have come to feel like the hospital is using this a a way to pad their income.

    I went today for my screening mammogram (it’s been two years since my last one). I explained all this to the tech, and asked if she could just go ahead and take the extra pictures. Of course she refused and I’m fully expecting to be called back … again. And if that does happen, I will be requesting my records and switching facilities.

    1. So sorry you have had this experience – I am sure it is very frustrating and upsetting! Sounds like a change may be a good idea. I would also suggest calling your insurance company to find out why the diagnostic test isn’t being covered. Good luck to you!

  72. I am sitting here waiting to go back for the diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. I had my first mammogram in 9 years last week. Short version, was taking care of a parent with Alzheimer’s, messy divorce, move across country, no regular doctor or health insurance. Finally back on track. Go for mammogram and get the dreaded callback … or at least radiologist results on this past Friday evening. Said I have a mass in my left breast. What does that mean???? No one to ask till Monday. Monday still got no answers as to how worried I should be, but am scheduled to go for the diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound in one week. I have a maternal aunt and a half sister who have had breast cancer. I am terrified. Finally, have a happy life with a good man (we’re getting married next year) and all I can think is I lost so many years to an abusive spouse and now, when life is finally good … is it going to turn out I have breast cancer? Reading all the comments here, hoping for the best, hoping it’s only an excess of caution because they don’t have my earlier mammogram results from the first mammogram 9 yrs ago because I can’t remember where it was done. Thanks to everyone who is sharing here. I don’t feel so alone.

  73. I just had my first mammogram at 47 . I have been having some extreme breast pain in left breast. Scared me right into getting a mammogram. Drove home and they were already calling an hour later to set up an ultrasound. So I immediately fell down the rabbit hole. Have literally made myself sick convincing myself I have stage 4 cancer for the last week. Well I just left the ultrasound and radiologist believes it’s just a area of extremely dense tissue. I read everyone of these comments last night and promised myself if I was fine I would post and hopefully ease someone’s mind. So basically my breast pain is completely unrelated to the failed mammogram. Please don’t convince yourself it’s something awful even if you have pain. I feel so relieved. Good luck ladies, the overwhelming majority of you are just fine.

  74. Good morning! I had my yearly mammogram check on Thursday, Sept.28th. On Monday, Oct. 3, I received a call from Imaging to come back for another mammogram plus ultrasound. Before I go any further, breast cancer does not run in my family, and I have been getting mammograms yearly since the age of 42…never had a problem. I waited ALL DAY to hear from my doctor. I called a total of 6 times and could never get through to the office. They were not picking up the phone in their office. The hospital operator was so kind and empathetic and kept leaving a message to the office this was a high priority call. Needless to say, I got no call back. I am also prone to hight anxiety so you can just imagine how my Monday night unraveled. My poor husband did the best to console me. My exact findings were…architectural distortion right breast middle depth superior with a BIRAD reading of 0. No cancerous spots were found in my right breast nor for that matter in my left breast. On Tuesday, Oct. 3rd, I started my round of calls to get an answer from my doctor but to no avail until I called another provider who told me to contact my primary doctor to see if he could get the results and imaging and explain to me what was going on. My primary doctor happens to be with the same clinic. When the very sweet operator heard all that I had been through the last 24 hours, she was BOUND and DETERMINED to get ahold of my gynecologist or one of his nurses because she knew I was at my wits end with worry! FINALLY, 15 minutes later, my gynecologist’s nurse gets on the phone, explains what the findings me, acts very nonchalant about it all stating they have found no cancer. At that time I told her I was upset that I never received a followup call from my gynecologist or her and that my gynecologist had stated last year when I went for my yearly Pap smear, that now that I was 67, I no longer needed Pap smears which just goes against my beliefs! She stated that new studies have come out that women 65+ just no longer need Pap smears, and my gynecologist was going to follow that guideline. She stated that maybe I should change gynecologists if I am unhappy with him. I agreed. So, she DID help me find a new gynecologist, which is a woman, and I insisted on coming in for a Pap smear by the end of the year. She made the change for me, and I am happy to say I will go in December for an overdue yearly Pap smear. BUT… in the meantime, I have this upcoming second mammogram and ultrasound, and I am worried. Thank-you for having this place to vent, and I hope to hear from several of year with similar stories and or experiences.

    1. What was your result? I got called back for two areas of architectural distortion as well as asymmetry. I go back today.

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