Mammogram Reports and BI-RADS: Category 6

Mammogram Reports and BI-RADS: Category 6

In our final posting on BI-RADS after our series (which covered BI-RADS 1, BI-RADS 2, BI-RADS 3, BI-RADS 4 and 5), today we’re going to cover the highest rating, BI-RADS 6. This is our least favorite category, but it’s important to talk about.


Bi-RADS 6: known biopsy proven cancer – appropriate action should be taken.

To be perfectly honest, if a patient has a rating of 6, it means that cancer is present. Now, a 6 does not mean what stage of cancer a patient is in, and the stages have a great impact on the treatment experience. We really can’t say this enough: early detection saves lives, which is why we so strongly recommend annual screenings. “Find it before you feel it” is a potential game-changer.


Why would someone with a rating of category 6 be coming in for medical imaging?

Imaging following category 6 by can be done for multiple reasons. At times it is used for evaluating the breast tissue for a follow-up after a biopsy or surgery. Mammography is used post-biopsy for assessment of biopsy marker placement if one is deployed at time of biopsy. Mammography can also be used to evaluate for the presence of residual microcalcifications or residual mammographic findings after a biopsy. MRI and ultrasound can be used following a category 6 assessment to evaluate or screen for additional sites of cancer or to evaluate the other breast for the rare instance that a patient has cancer simultaneously in each breast. These additional MRI or ultrasound studies can be very useful for surgical treatment planning. Occasionally patients could have chemotherapy prior to breast cancer surgery. In this small subset of patients imaging studies like a breast MRI can be used to evaluate the response chemotherapy is having on the tumor. It is an excellent test to follow treatment response in this group. These patients are given a category 6 BI-RADS designation.


What’s next

This concludes our thorough and exhaustive explanations of all the categories of BI-RADS. Tomorrow, we’ll give you the cheat-sheet: an all-in-one post that includes the list of every category with a brief (we promise!) definition of each. And we said this yesterday, but it’s worth repeating: remember, there’s always the “contact us” button on our blog menu up top!  





Originally posted 7/15/13 on