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BIRADS – Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System

Mammogram Details and Diagnosis


Updated June 03, 2014

Your mammogram report includes many technical details, and one section will show you a Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BIRADS) score. This indicates the radiologist's opinion of the absence or presence of breast cancer. It's good to know why this score is important to your diagnosis and treatment, if any will be needed. Discuss your results with your doctor to make sure you understand what it means for your breast health.

BIRADS was developed by the American College of Radiologists as a standard of comparison for rating mammograms and breast ultrasound images. It sets up a classification for Level of Suspicion (LOS)-- the possibility of breast cancer.

The table below shows the BIRADS scoring system. The numbers in the left column are what will appear in your mammogram report. A score of 3, 4 or 5 will require follow-up.

Please note: A score of 6 is given only after a biopsy has been examined and found to be cancerous; treatment would definitely be required.

Read an explanation of each BIRAD classification.


Category Diagnosis Number of Criteria
0 Incomplete Your mammogram or ultrasound didn't give the radiologist enough information to make a clear diagnosis; follow-up imaging is necessary
1 Negative There is nothing to comment on; routine screening recommended
2 Benign A definite benign finding; routine screening recommended
3 Probably Benign Findings that have a high probability of being benign (>98%); six-month short interval follow-up
4 Suspicious Abnormality Not characteristic of breast cancer, but reasonable probability of being malignant (3 to 94%); biopsy should be considered
5 Highly Suspicious of Malignancy Lesion that has a high probability of being malignant (>= 95%); take appropriate action
6 Known Biopsy Proven Malignancy Lesions known to be malignant that are being imaged prior to definitive treatment; assure that treatment is completed
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