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This paper introduces a new unsharp masking (UM) scheme, called nonlinear UM (NLUM), for mammogram enhancement. The NLUM offers users the flexibility 1) to embed different types of filters into the nonlinear filtering operator; 2) to choose different linear or nonlinear operations for the fusion processes that combines the enhanced filtered portion of the mammogram with the original mammogram; and 3) to allow the NLUM parameter selection to be performed manually or by using a quantitative enhancement measure to obtain the optimal enhancement parameters. We also introduce a new enhancement measure approach, called the second-derivative-like measure of enhancement, which is shown to have better performance than other measures in evaluating the visual quality of image enhancement. The comparison and evaluation of enhancement performance demonstrate that the NLUM can improve the disease diagnosis by enhancing the fine details in mammograms with no a priori knowledge of the image contents. The human-visual-system-based image decomposition is used for analysis and visualization of mammogram enhancement.