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Friday, August 12, 2011 Mary, Community Member, asks

Q: What Is Focal Asymmetry In Mammogram?

I have a mammogram and a recall then an ultra sound done last week. The results came back and all indicate there is persistent focal asymmetry in the upper outer right breast. No cystic or solid lesions identified. There are no suspicious micro calcification. MRI is recommended. However the insurance doesn't approve the MRI. My doctor told me to see a breast surgeon. My cousin just underwent a breast surgery and removed one breast. It makes me so worry about my diagnoses. Am I at risk? Do I really need a MRI?
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Answers (1)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
8/12/11 9:50pm

Mary, a 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. And don't compare your experience to your cousin's; this is probably NOT breast cancer, and you won't need your breast removed - but you absolutely have to rule cancer out, which means further diagnostic testing. So do what the doctor says, and see the surgeon, OK? I hope you get good news, at the end of all these tests. Take care- PJH

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Mary, Community Member
8/12/11 10:47pm

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, Health Guide
8/13/11 7:53am

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

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Bernice, Community Member
3/17/13 11:17pm

I am having to define Focal abnormality pertaining to Breast Cancer

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Bernice, Community Member
3/17/13 11:17pm

I am having to define Focal abnormality pertaining to Breast Cancer

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
3/18/13 5:15am

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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By Mary, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/13/14, First Published: 08/12/11