Should you worry if you’re called back to discuss screening results?
When you’ve had a cancer screening test , getting a call to come back in to discuss your results can be unnerving. However, the most important thing you can do if you receive such a call is to follow up as soon as you can. Being called to discuss your screening results doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer, but if you need cancer care, the earlier you can start, the better the results will be.
Why do I need to discuss my results in person?
Often, if your physician calls you in to discuss your screening results, it means that you may need further testing. In some cases, part of a screening test, such as dark area on a mammogram, may need to be examined a little more closely.
The need for a closer look doesn’t mean that there is any abnormality to be concerned about, but rather that your physician needs more information. In some cases, your screening test may simply need to be repeated because the results are unclear. Something as simple as a blurry image could cause the need to discuss your test results.
How likely is it that an abnormal screening test means cancer?
The answer to this question varies from hospital to hospital and varies based on the test and the type of cancer. For example, at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center, as discussed in the video, the statistics for our mammograms are as follows:
About 7% of women are called back to discuss their results and to have further testing each year
About 1-2% of those women end up requiring a biopsy
Less than 1% of these women have cancerous changes in their breast tissue
What should I do if I receive a call to discuss my results?
Schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Addressing the issues sooner rather than later will put your mind at ease. Your physician will explain in full what steps you need to take, up to and including cancer care, when necessary, and he or she can also recommend steps to take if you’re experiencing stress and anxiety .
The cancer care team at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is committed to supporting patients throughout the process of facing cancer, from diagnosis through treatment and to recovery. To get more information about cancer care in West Hills or to ask for a specialist referral, please dial (818) 676-4321.