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Provista Blog > Is “Probably Benign” Good Enough for BI-RADS 3 Patients?

Provista Blog

Is “Probably Benign” Good Enough for BI-RADS 3 Patients?

Posted by Provista Diagnostics on December 20, 2016

The results of a mammogram are not always black and white; they sometimes fall into a gray area. When this happens, confidently choosing a “watch and wait” approach verses immediate follow up can be difficult for health care providers. The standard of care for BI-RADS 3 patients is short interval follow up with a 0 percent to 2 percent likelihood of malignancy, while, BI-RADS 4a is to biopsy, despite the low suspicion of 2 percent to 10 percent likelihood of malignancy.

BI-RADS 3 Patients are informed their imaging result is "Probably Benign."

These women are typically reassessed with six month follow up imaging for two years using a “wait and see” approach to confirm that the abnormality is benign. The period of watchful waiting cases two years of anxious follow-ups filled with uncertainty for women and ultimately 98 percent chance that their finding is benign.  On the other hand, for the other two percent of women their diagnosis may be delayedreducing their chance of survival. 


A biopsy is not typically recommended for BI-RADS 3 patients; however, some patients may still insist on a biopsy. For instance, in the ACRIN 6666 trial, 124 women with a BI-RADS 3 assessment were biopsied, of which five cancers were identified.10 Do you have anxious patients that would prefer to have a definitive diagnosis from a biopsy today versus following the “watch and wait” approach? For these women and other women with a BI-RADS 3 score, an additional diagnostic tool that provides accurate information on their breast cancer status could ease their concern and convince them to forgo biopsy.

Learn More About Early Breast Cancer Detection In Our Guide

This proves there is a strong need for a diagnostic complement to imaging in the form of a blood test. When a result comes back unclear from imaging, the blood test could be administered, providing real time detection of breast cancer. This would allow for BI-RADS 3 patients to gain a definitive response when imaging comes back unclear, saving them from 2 years of restless follow ups as well as reducing the chance of a delayed diagnosis.  

Provista Diagnostics

Provista Diagnostics

At Provista Diagnostics, our mission is to develop world-class diagnostic tests for indications in breast and gynecologic cancers. As a leading diagnostics company, our aim is to create, produce and market innovative solutions for unmet clinical needs. Our products and services help to diagnose diseases and inform better clinical decisions, thus enhancing women’s health and quality of life. We do this in a responsible and ethical manner with a commitment to excellence in every aspect of our business.