Additional examinations

General notice


Women aged 70 to 74 years without any health problems that would reduce their life expectancy to less than 10 years can participate in the Québec Breast Cancer Screening Program (PQDCS) out-of-program screening. To do so, they must speak with a health professional to obtain a medical prescription.

The content of this web page will soon be updated to reflect this information.

Notice publication date: April 6, 2023

About 10 % of women in the PQDCS have an abnormal mammogram result. When a mammogram is abnormal, additional examinations are required for more definitive results. If you have an abnormal mammogram, don't worry. In most cases, additional examinations do not reveal a cancer.

If you must have additional examinations, contact a Designated Reference Center for Investigation (CRID) or a Designated Screening Center (CDD) to make an appointment without delay.

Wait times for additional examinations may vary by CRID and CDD. To find out about wait times by CRID and CDD, consult the Wait times for access to mammography and other examinations This hyperlink will open in a new window. page on the website of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (in French only).

Talk to your doctor if you wish to have your additional examinations at a facility other than a CRID or CDD.

Types of additional examinations

The various additional examinations each correspond to a specific need. You will only have additional examinations that are required for your specific situation.

Type of additional examinations


Clinical breast examination

Inspection and palpation of the breasts and armpits by a doctor

Additional X-rays

Additional mammograms to see a part of the breast better and to specify the nature of the abnormality.


A test to see inside the breast using an ultrasound probe.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

An exam to see inside the breast using magnetic fields.

Non-surgical biopsy

Removal of a cell or tissue sample in the breast with a needle.

Surgical biopsy

Removal of tissue from a breast lump through surgery.

Stereotactic localization biopsy

Surgery that requires placing a marker (a fine wire) in the breast at the exact spot where an abnormality has been detected using a computer. This wire serves as a marker to guide the surgeon in an accurate sampling of the area in question.

Preparing for additional examinations

If you must have additional examinations, prepare as you would for a mammogram. Also follow the instructions that are given to you when you make your appointment.

Like many women, you may be worried about having tests to screen for a breast disease. Discuss your fears and concerns openly with your doctor. You can also get information and support from the Regional Service Coordination Center (CCSR) in your region. Ask about wait times for receiving your test results.

Additional examinations results

Your test results will be given to you by your doctor or the center where you had your exam.

There are 2 possible results: normal or abnormal.

  • Normal result: In 95 % of cases, additional examinations results are normal. In other words, nothing points to the presence of a cancer in the breast at the moment of examination.
  • Abnormal result: In 5 % of cases, additional examinations confirm the presence of a cancer. If you receive an abnormal result, your doctor will inform you of the necessary steps.

Do not hesitate to talk to a doctor for more information:

  • About your mammography results
  • About the results of your additional examinations
  • About anything else on your mind