A mammogram can be classified as “abnormal” for many reasons. It is important to remember that an abnormal mammogram is not always indicative of cancer. Radiologists use a system known as the Bi-rads system to classify the severity of a mammographic distortion.

Bi-Rad Classifications

Bi-rads 1Negative mammogram. Completely normal findings.
Bi-rads 2Benign finding. The radiologist found a mass, calcification, or lymph node that he or she is very certain is not cancer.
Bi-rads 3Probably benign finding. There is less than a 2% chance the findings in this category are cancerous.
Bi-rads 4Suspicious abnormality. The findings in this category have one or more characteristics that indicate the presence of cancerous cells.
Bi-rads 5Highly suggestive of malignancy. The findings have at least a 95% chance of being cancer.
Bi-rads 6Known biopsy-proven malignancy. The area seen on the mammogram has already been tested and proven to be cancer.
Bi-rads 0 or Bi-rads 00Additional imaging needed. The radiologist needs more imaging perspectives before making an accurate categorization


Finding out the Bi-rads number of your mammogram will help you determine how concerned your doctor is. If your physician recommends you follow up with a breast surgeon or specialist after your mammogram, it is essential you do so.

While mammograms are a safe, effective, and quick way of screening for breast cancer, they do not catch all cancers in all women. If you are concerned about the results of your mammogram, we recommend you consult a breast specialist.

Peace of mind comes for many after getting solid answers about a clear diagnosis, whether benign or malignant, and a clear treatment plan is laid out.


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