Some suspicious findings on a mammogram include calcifications, which are tiny mineral deposits in the tissue of the breast, and masses, which are cysts or tumors, according to the American Cancer Society. The radiologist reading the mammogram also looks at changes between previous mammograms and the current mammogram.
Calcifications on a mammogram appear as small white spots, notes the American Cancer Society. Calcifications may be macrocalcifications, which are usually age-related or due to inflammation or previous injuries to the breast, or microcalcifications, which are more ominous and may be cause for concern. Radiologists evaluate the layout and shape of these tiny specks of calcium in the breast to determine the necessity of further studies, including biopsies, to rule out cancer.
Masses in the breast tissue may be non-cancerous fluid-filled cysts or solid tumors, reports the American Cancer Society. If a mass is partly solid, additional imaging studies or a biopsy can rule out or confirm the presence of cancer.