The evaluation of patients with a palpable breast lump includes physical examination, mammography, and fine needle aspiration cytology. Combined use of these diagnostic procedures (triple diagnostic) gives nearly the same degree of accuracy as excisional biopsy with a sensitivity of 97-99% in patients with palpable breast carcinomas. Ultrasonography is a valuable adjunct when mammography is normal or nonconclusive and should be the primary imaging modality in patients under 35 years of age with benign findings on physical examination. Ongoing quality assessment of mammography and ultrasonography is mandatory, since the imaging modalities play a central role in the evaluation of patients with lumps in the breast. There are considerable practical problems associated with the medical audit of the triple diagnostic procedure. Aspects of the evaluation of breast lumps and organization of breast imaging centres are discussed in the light of our own experiences.