What is a BI-RADS Assessment Category?

X-ray Digital Mammogram both side CC view and MLO . mammography or breast scan for Breast cancer

When you schedule and take your mammogram test, a lot goes into analyzing and categorizing your results. This is to ensure that radiologists provide accurate results. With the development of technology, breast cancer centers can use flexible BI-RADS reporting options to meet the needs of any radiologist, allowing them to focus on your diagnosis and treatment. This article will help you learn about BI-RADS and its significant role in your mammogram results.

What does BI-RADS stand for?

Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System, or BI-RADS, is an assessment tool used to rate the results of a mammogram test. The American College of Radiology established BI-RADS to describe breast imaging results and findings from mammography, MRI, or ultrasound. The concept was first developed in the 1990s to address the challenge of ambiguous and variable reporting practices. Since its inception, BI-RADS has become a central tool for breast imaging.

Why does my breast center use BI-RADS? What do they do with them?

Doctors can use the BI-RADS to describe results and findings. Doctors can use different categories to describe what they find on your mammogram using the same terms, making it easier for other radiologists and healthcare providers to give reliable diagnoses and follow-ups.

What do the BI-RADS categories mean?

Doctors use the BI-RADS system to place findings into categories. They can use these BI-RADS categories to describe the results of a mammogram, breast MRI or ultrasound. The ranking is as follows:

Category 0: A 0 score indicates incomplete or inconclusive results. It means additional imaging may be needed, or an evaluation of previous imaging is necessary.

Category 1: This score confirms that your study was normal and your mammogram results are negative. That means there’s no cancer and your breasts are of equal density, but it’s crucial to continue with routine screening.

Category 2: A score of 2 indicates that your mammogram was normal and the results were negative, but the imaging found a benign cyst or mass. When you get this score, your doctor may recommend routine visits to see how the cyst is going.

Category 3: This score shows that your mammogram is normal, but there’s a 2% chance of cancer. In this case, your doctor will recommend a follow-up mammogram within six months.

Category 4: Score 4 indicates an abnormality with a 20% to 35% chance of cancer. To confirm, the doctor will perform a biopsy to test a small tissue sample.

Category 5: This score indicates a high suspicion of cancer. That means there’s at least a 95% chance of breast cancer. A biopsy is recommended to confirm the results and begin treatment.

Category 6: This score is only awarded if the biopsy confirms the presence of breast cancer. This category also shows how cancer responds to treatment.

Should I keep track of my BI-RADS?

Your BI-RADS score is a critical part of your medical history. When you understand your score, you and your physician can track your results, allowing you to participate actively in your medical care. Doctors may use Magview’s patient tracking software to assess, analyze and monitor your imaging results.This software helps breast centers keep track of patients and their breast health.. You may want to keep track of your BI-RADS due to the following reasons:

  • If you’re a high-risk patient
  • You may want to change your imaging center at some point
  • For easier follow-up, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Can help identify anything abnormal at its earliest stages ( not all abnormal findings are considered cancerous)
  • Shows progressive health of your breasts


Have you checked your risk for breast cancer lately? Check our breast cancer risk assessment program, including the IBIS risk calculator, to know your risk level and take control of your breast health. If you experience any challenges using the program, contact us, and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

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