A method and system for detecting and displaying abnormal anatomic regions existing in a digital X-ray image, wherein a single projection digital X-ray image is processed to obtain signal-enhanced image data with a maximum signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and is also processed to obtain signal-suppressed image data with a suppressed SNR. Then, difference image data are formed by subtraction of the signal-suppressed image data from the signal-enhanced image data to remove low-frequency structured anatomic background, which is basically the same in both the signal-suppressed and signal-enhanced image data. Once the structured background is removed, feature extraction, is performed. For the detection of lung nodules, pixel thresholding is performed, followed by circularity and/or size testing of contiguous pixels surviving thresholding. Threshold levels are varied, and the effect of varying the threshold on circularity and size is used to detect nodules. For the detection of mammographic microcalcifications, pixel thresholding and contiguous pixel area thresholding are performed. Clusters of suspected abnormalities are then detected.