Interpreting the mammogram report

Am Fam Physician. 1993 Feb 1;47(2):396-403.


The standardization of imaging techniques, interpretation and reporting has become an important issue as the use of mammographic screening has increased. Each mammogram report should indicate whether the breast is fatty or consists of dense glandular tissue. A brief description of abnormalities should be followed by the conclusion and recommendations. Well-circumscribed lesions have a 98 percent benign rate; these lesions generally do not require biopsy but can be followed at six-month intervals for a period of time. The overall rate of malignancy for biopsies prompted by mammography is 20 to 35 percent. Lesions interpreted as highly suspicious are malignant in 75 to 90 percent of cases. Mammographically detected tumors are generally smaller than palpable tumors at the time of diagnosis. In addition, patients who have mammographically detected lesions are more often node-negative and therefore have a better prognosis than patients with palpable lesions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography* / economics
  • Mass Screening / economics