Abnormal Mammogram Results – What Do They Really Mean?

April 13, 2017

Negativing Breast Health

Cheryl Pauley, RN, CN-BN, left, and Christine Taylor, RN, CN-BN

Christine Taylor, RN, CN-BN, and Cheryl Pauley, RN, CN-BN, have a message for women who are told their mammogram results are abnormal – there is hope.

“Just having a certain reading on a mammogram doesn't necessarily mean a woman has breast cancer,” said Cheryl, who points out that about 80 percent of biopsies results are benign.

Cheryl and Christine recently became certified breast patient navigators. Career nurses, Cheryl has extensive experience in radiology and Christine was an operating room nurse before becoming a care coordinator.

 “Cheryl knows all of the radiology pieces and I’ve been in the operating room and have seen the actual surgery and then recovered those patients,” said Christine. “And as a care coordinator, I am familiar with a lot of resources that can benefit patients.”

Christine said most women are shocked when they receive abnormal results, and they don’t know what questions to ask or what to do next. Having a patient navigator to assist them by offering  education about breast health and procedures, collecting test results, providing information about doctors and other resources, has been shown to help improve patient outcomes.

Some of the greatest challenges patients face may not be medical. Patients might need help with childcare, finances, marital issues and transportation. Christine can also connect breast cancer patients who are uninsured or under-insured to resources offered through the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Pink Ribbon Project.

 “We would both like to encourage women to get their yearly mammograms and follow the doctor’s instructions,” said Cheryl. “If something shows up, don’t be afraid. Early biopsies and early recognition can be life saving.”

Visit MedStarStMarys.org/BreastHealth for more information.