• Mary Mary
    August 12, 2011
    What does "focal asymmetry" mean on my mammogram results?
    Mary Mary
    August 12, 2011

    I had a mammogram, then a callback, then an ultrasound done last week. The results came back "persistent focal asymmetry in the upper outer right breast." They're recommending an MRI, but my insurance doesn't cover it. My doctor told me to see a breast surgeon. Am I at risk? Do I really need an MRI?

     

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  • PJ Hamel
    Health Guide
    August 12, 2011
    PJ Hamel
    Health Guide
    August 12, 2011

    Focal asymmetry means the mammogram shows an abnormality, but it's impossible to tell what's causing it. You've since had an ultrasound, which ruled out cysts and solid lesions; and the mammogam apparently showed no evidence of microcalcifications, which can be an early sign of breast cancer. Still, it's not clear what's causing this asymmetry (which is basically the breast tissue being distorted for some reason). Thus the doctor's desire that you have an MRI, which is more sensitive than a mammogram, and would be able to show more clearly what's going on.

     

    I'm sorry your insurance won't cover this. Perhaps you could get your doctor to contact the insurance company and explain the need for it. Or, s/he may just be jumping ahead to a biopsy, without the MRI – since you're seeing a breast surgeon. Please don't panic about having a biopsy – about 85% of breast biopsies are negative for cancer, so the odds are on your side.

     

    You really should do what you can to find out what's causing this abnormal mammogram, which means further diagnostic testing. So do what the doctor says, and see the surgeon and/or have the MRI, OK? Speaking to a social worker at your local hospital beforehand might be useful in untangling any possible insurance issues. I hope you get good news at the end of all these tests.  

     

    • Mary
      August 12, 2011
      Mary
      August 12, 2011

      Thanks so much for the info. PJ.  I will see the surgeon and hope that would end my worry.

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    • PJ Hamel
      August 13, 2011
      PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      August 13, 2011

      Good, Mary - sounds like you're a little less stressed. Hope you enjoy your wweekend! PJH

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    • Bernice
      March 17, 2013
      Bernice
      March 17, 2013

      I am having to define Focal abnormality pertaining to Breast Cancer

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    • Bernice
      March 17, 2013
      Bernice
      March 17, 2013

      I am having to define Focal abnormality pertaining to Breast Cancer

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    • PJ Hamel
      March 18, 2013
      PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      March 18, 2013

      Bernice, focal abnormality is a less-specific way of saying focal asymmetry; they see something suspicious, but can't tell what it is. So, my answer to Mary would apply to your question as well - you'll probably have to continue going through diagnostic testing until they figure out what's causing this abnormality. Good luck - I hope this turns out to be nothing serious. PJH

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