Additional imaging evaluation and/or comparison to prior mammograms is needed.
This means a possible abnormality may not be clearly seen or defined and more tests are needed, such as the use of spot compression (applying compression to a smaller area when doing the mammogram), magnified views, special mammogram views, or ultrasound.
This may also suggest that the mammogram should be compared with older ones to see if there have been changes in the area over time.
There’s no significant abnormality to report. The breasts look the same (they are symmetrical) with no masses (lumps), distorted structures, or suspicious calcifications.
Benign (non-cancerous) finding
The radiologist describes a finding to be benign, when he/she sees benign, non malignant, structures such as, calcifications, lymph nodes in the breast, benign cysts or calcified fibroadenomas. This ensures that others who look at the mammogram will not misinterpret the benign finding as suspicious. This finding is recorded in the mammogram report to help when comparing to future mammograms.
Probably benign finding – Follow-up in a short time frame is suggested
The findings in this category have a very high chance (greater than 98%) of being benign (not cancer). The findings are not expected to change over time. But since it’s not proven benign, it’s helpful to see if the area in question does change over time.
Follow-up with repeat imaging is usually done in 6 months and regularly after that until the finding is known to be stable (usually at least 2 years). This approach helps avoid unnecessary biopsies, but if the area does change over time, it still allows for early diagnosis.
Suspicious abnormality – Biopsy recommended
Findings do not definitely look like cancer but could be cancer. The radiologist is concerned enough to recommend a biopsy.
Highly suggestive of malignancy – Biopsy recommended
The findings look like cancer and have a high chance (at least 95%) of being cancer. Biopsy recommended.
Known biopsy-proven malignancy – Appropriate action should be taken
This category is only used for findings on a mammogram that have already been shown to be cancer by a previous biopsy. Mammograms may be used in this way to see how well the cancer is responding to treatment. Some cancers are often made to shrink using chemotherapy to later be removed by a surgeon.