12 doctors weighed in:
Can a mammogram show whether a lump is benign or not?
12 doctors weighed in

Dr. Devon Webster
Internal Medicine - Oncology
4 doctors agree
In brief: No
A mammogram shows characteristics of a lump that make it more likely to be benign or malignant.
The mammogram is given a bi-rads score of 0 to 6. A score of 3 is indeterminate, and 4 is suspicious for cancer. The only way to know absolutely is to have a biopsy. This site gives more info about bi-rads: http://www.Breast-cancer.Ca/screening/bi-rads.Htm.

In brief: No
A mammogram shows characteristics of a lump that make it more likely to be benign or malignant.
The mammogram is given a bi-rads score of 0 to 6. A score of 3 is indeterminate, and 4 is suspicious for cancer. The only way to know absolutely is to have a biopsy. This site gives more info about bi-rads: http://www.Breast-cancer.Ca/screening/bi-rads.Htm.
Dr. Devon Webster
Dr. Devon Webster
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2 comments
Dr. Carl Decker
While it is true that biopsy is the gold standard, it is often safe to diagnose a lump as a cyst using ultrasound alone when classic features are present.
Dr. Michael Gabor
BIRADS category 3 is "probably benign", less then 2% probability of malignancy. Usually these lesions undergo short interval follow up.
Dr. Michael Gabor
Diagnostic Radiology
2 doctors agree
In brief: Sometimes
Some masses have specific characteristics on mammo that enable the radiologist to make the diagnosis of a benign lesion, without biopsy.
These include: hamartoma, oil cyst, calcified fibroadenoma, fat necrosis, lymph node, calcified cyst. For most other lumps, further imaging, follow up, or biopsy are likely needed.

In brief: Sometimes
Some masses have specific characteristics on mammo that enable the radiologist to make the diagnosis of a benign lesion, without biopsy.
These include: hamartoma, oil cyst, calcified fibroadenoma, fat necrosis, lymph node, calcified cyst. For most other lumps, further imaging, follow up, or biopsy are likely needed.
Dr. Michael Gabor
Dr. Michael Gabor
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Dr. Dariush Vaziri
Breast Surgery
2 doctors agree
In brief: Not always
When reading a mammogram the radiologist categorizes the findings on the mammogram based on the degree of suspicion from 1 to 5, with 5 being highly suspicious for malignancy and 1being negative.
The only definive way to know a lump is benign or malignant is a biopsy. But not all lumps need a biopsy such as simple cysts. Ultrasound can be helpful. Please see your physician if you have a lump.

In brief: Not always
When reading a mammogram the radiologist categorizes the findings on the mammogram based on the degree of suspicion from 1 to 5, with 5 being highly suspicious for malignancy and 1being negative.
The only definive way to know a lump is benign or malignant is a biopsy. But not all lumps need a biopsy such as simple cysts. Ultrasound can be helpful. Please see your physician if you have a lump.
Dr. Dariush Vaziri
Dr. Dariush Vaziri
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