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Did radiologist tell you what % chance biopsy would be benign?

barb3246 Member Posts: 9
edited September 2018 in Waiting for Test Results

I was just wondering if anyone had their radiologist give them an idea of what they thought the chances were that the biopsy results would be B9, and how accurate were they? I had a core biopsy yesterday, and the radiologist told me she thought there was a very good chance that the results would come back benign, so I'm really hoping and praying she's right. I know only the pathologist can tell for sure what something is, but do you think the radiologist has a pretty good idea of what they're looking at? Or do they always tell you that its probably fine so you won't worry as much? If they thought it was bad, do you think they would even tell you??



  • marie5890
    marie5890 Member Posts: 111


    Yes, a radiologist can often tell if it's B9 or not. Like you said, definitively only pathology can do that, but if you radiologist told you there is a very good chance of it being B9, then hold on to that and exhale.

    She was being professionally honest with you as a radiologist, and not just trying to help you worry less.  

  • bevin
    bevin Member Posts: 519

    I believe they generally quote 80% chance of being benign.   BTW, my radiologist told me before my biopsy that I had cancer.  She was certain from the mammo results.  The biopsy actually confirms what they see on the Mammo. Good luck to you I hope this helps a little and hope that all is well.

  • profbee
    profbee Member Posts: 304

    I love what Marie said...exhale. My radiologist was essentially the one who told me it. Was cancer. He said, "I'm very worried.". Yeah, me too! Then, I asked him a question about breast cancer and he didnt stop me and say noon..don't worry about that. I knew. I'd say if the radiologist said its likely good news, then it likely is. The waiting part stinks, we all know, but try to get some rest and take some comfort in that.

  • coraleliz
    coraleliz Member Posts: 158

    I was told that "it didn't look good" & was given literature on breast cancer before I left. So, your situation sounds encouraging.

  • profbee
    profbee Member Posts: 304 computer is in the shop. I give up trying to post with hubby's do people use these things? Sorry about the errors. Good night.

  • mags20487
    mags20487 Member Posts: 1,092

    I could tell by the look on the radialogist's face as well as the US tech guiding him.  He also placed his hand on my shoulder and wished me well.  Surgeon who sent me for biopsy said he was better than 90% sure it was cancer--that was before the biopsy.  Mammo was a birad 5.  So sounds like you may be in good shape.  Wishing you well and B9 results!


  • Stacie
    Stacie Member Posts: 25

    Mine was a BIRAD 5.  My radiologis said if my biopsy lab results said benign he wouldn't believe it and would do surgery anyway to go to path that's how "concerned' he is.  My GYN said were taking the tumor out either way.  Also a swollen lynmph node and a dimple.  And it's near my chest wall, maybe involved, maybe not.  Results expected soon.  Sounds pretty definitive for not definitive.

  • besa
    besa Member Posts: 283

    I had a radiologist who absolutely looked me in the eye and lied to me.  I asked him repeatedly what the chances were that the mass he saw on a mammogram( and later biopsied) was malignant.  He repeatedly told me he had no idea and that I needed to wait for a biopsy result (I understood that he didn't have a crystal ball, I just wanted the probability of it being bc).  I later pulled my mamography report and realized that at the same time he was telling me he didn't know, he had written a report stating that I was birads 5 "highly suggestive of malignancy."  I later called and complained and he at least acknowledged the lie and apologized.  I am an "all the cards on the table" kind of person.  I want honest information.  His lie delayed my seeing a breast surgeon for a few weeks.  More importantly I no longer trust that my doctors are being honest with me.  I now pull every radiology report immediately after they are transcribed.  The birads 5 mass turned out to be bc.  My guess is that your radiologist was being honest and is not just trying to prevent you from worrying.  I think you are lucky to have a radiologist who is up front with you. 

  • Keep in mind that whatever the radiologist doing the biopsy tells you, it's based on what he or she sees on your films. They are simply putting words to the BIRADs rating.  

    What the radiologist is not doing is giving you any additional insight beyond what's seen on your films.  They are not providing any new information based on what they see as they are doing the biopsy.  Cancer cells are microscopic and there's not much chance that they know, as they are pulling a few cells out of your breast with a core needle, whether those cells are cancerous or not.  

  • besa
    besa Member Posts: 283

    Bessie- I clearly understood at the time that there was no new information during the biopsy and that of course the radiologist couldn't miraculously know the pathology of the cells he was pulling during the biopsy.     The question I was asking him was just a repeat of  very same question I asked during the call back mammogram and was based on the information from the films.  The point was that he made a repeat decision---- this was the  2nd time he choose not relay important information ("BI-RADS 5 - highly suggestive of malignancy") to me.  I will not use this radiologist again.  

  • voraciousreader
    voraciousreader Member Posts: 3,696

    I had gone to a different radiology office and was given a birad 4a on an ultrasound and a 3 on a mammogram.  My gynocologist referred me to a second radiologist.  After spending a half hour doing an ultrasound, he told me he was NOT concerned with the cyst that the other radiologist found, but instead was more concerned about another cyst which he took the time to show me and explain why he was concerned.  Within minutes he was doing a biopsy!  A week later, he called and confirmed that it was a rare mucinous breast cancer.  I wouldn't say he gave me any percentage of what chance it would be benign.  Instead, he was very forthcoming in explaining why he thought it needed to be biopsied right away....Since he's some what bald and I'm some what gray, I told him I'll be using him until he's completely bald and I'm completely gray!  What a gem!

  • melly1462
    melly1462 Member Posts: 20

    I had my biopsy 2 days before Thanksgiving and was told would not have results until after.  The radiologist said to me, "Go home, enjoy the holiday, and remember 80% of these are benign".

    I decided mind over matter, I convinced myself that I was part of the 80% and enjoyed Thanksgiving not once thinking I could be in the 20%.  Silly me, I was actually surprised when I got the call a week later with those dreaded words, "I'm sorry, you have breast cancer".

    Do I think she lied and she knew already?  If she did, I honestly think her intentions were in the right place.  Maybe she honestly couldn't tell for sure.  Why worry someone needlessly with maybe's and not sures.  

    I've been satisfied with the level of care thus far, but....I ask for copies of EVERYTHING.

  • cookiegal
    cookiegal Member Posts: 527

    yes, they said there was at best a 5% chance it would be B9...I was glad those few days sort of let me wrap my head around the whole cancer thing..

    please keep in mind most the B9 women don't hang out on the board though, so we are not a good sample

  • sflow
    sflow Member Posts: 20

    Mine was foreign and in very broken English said, " I do not think this is benign".  There was my answer.

  • calilisa
    calilisa Member Posts: 5

    I have several complicated cysts they have been watching for a few years.  The radiologist was concerned about one of the cysts during my last round of exams, and told me it was likely cancer. When he told me that, he kept saying he was so sorry.  As it turned out, it wasn't cancer.  It was an area of ADH. Regarding my second cyst, he encouraged me to leave it alone and indicated that he was 95% sure it was fine.  Since it was in the same breast, and fairly close, I had the surgeon remove both.  It was ADH also.  I felt my radiologist was giving his best opinion of what he was seeing, but the pathology from an excisional was the only way to really know.  

  • mrkffr11
    mrkffr11 Member Posts: 6

    I think it also depends upon the type of screening.  I had a mammogram that turned up calcifications and the radiologist that did the biopsy mentioned that he did not think the calcification were type that indicated malignancy - but the biopsy result came back positive for DCIS. 

    I had subsequent MRI screening before I decide on treatment option and the MRI I knew could turn up false positive concerns and sure enough - I had to have 3 biospies as result and got results 1 week ago that all 3 were benign.  The MRI radiologist also told me she thought they might be but I was hesitant to believe it - I was holding out hope and this time they were right.

    Best of luck 

  • Annabella58
    Annabella58 Member Posts: 916

    From my experience (2 times) they do not know.  Period.

    And add to that, they have no dam** business saying any such thing to you.  To frighten you like that when they have no biopsy results?  That is ridiculous.

    Only a biopsy knows.  Only.

    And I sure am glad you are OK!

  • jemije5559
    jemije5559 Member Posts: 13

    Radiologists, who are physicians, have a very good idea of whether or not a tumor is malignant. They can be wrong at times, but the images they see provide a great deal of information, such as solid vs fluid filled, irregular borders, spiculated pattern, lymph node enlargement, etc. Pathology reports provide the cancer diagnosis, but radiologists assign the birads category and they do that based on the US and diagnostic mammo information. If a radiologist is reassuring, ask him/her what birads category they are going to give you and that is very useful information. If it is below 5, be reassured. Sounds like you can rest easy, waiting for your pathology report.

  • Dixiemine30
    Dixiemine30 Member Posts: 16

    My experience....

    Dec 12 - screening mammogram.  I noticed the "specks" and asked the technician what those were.  "Oh, lots of people have calcifications, they don't necessarily mean anything."  The next day they called and wanted me to come in for a diagnostic mammogram.

    Dec 19 - diagnostic mammogram.  Lots of "pictures" and an ultrasound.  Radiologist came in and said the calcification were new since the last mammogram and we might as well do a biopsy "just to be sure".  I asked about the possibility of cancer and he said there was a less than 5% chance it was cancer and he just liked to be thorough.

    Dec 29 - Sterostatic needle biopsy.  

    Jan 3 -- Got "the call"...I'm sorry to inform you, you have ductal carcinoma in situ.

    They got my results on Dec. 30 but I guess they didn't want to ruin my New Year's weekend.

  • dogsandjogs
    dogsandjogs Member Posts: 677

    After I had the core biopsy I asked the doc if it was cancer. He said "I don't know what it is."

    I felt like asking "Well, will you ask someone who knows?"

    I was told to come back in 2 days for the result. When I saw two people waiting in the room to talk to me I figured it was cancer.

  • Faye33
    Faye33 Member Posts: 10

    While I was getting bandaged up after my three biopsies, the radiologist which did the biopsies went out into the waiting room and informed my husband I would probably be needing chemotherapy.  I thought that was pretty bold and very premature on her part, but it turned out she was right.  The nurses told me that radiologist was so good she could usually tell if samples were cancer or not, just by looking at them.

  • velutha
    velutha Member Posts: 5

    My radiologist and techs changed attitude very quickly when they saw my mammogram.  Became absurdly nice, used words like sweetie and baby (they were all female).  Radiologist went out of her way to say she'd pull strings with pathology to get the results ASAP.  Recommended oncologists.  She did not give a percentage.  That 80% benign they throw around are the overall results for all breast biopsies.  That number is much lower for a BIRADS 5 and up. 

    I have to say, waiting on pathology, both biopsy and post-op, was just as hard as going through chemo.  Sometimes I wish they'd lied to me, told me it was likely a benign cyst, just so I could have enjoyed a couple of days instead of freaking out waiting.

  • coraleliz
    coraleliz Member Posts: 158

    I was told mine was unlikely to be anything other than cancer. I was handed a pamphlet on breast cancer. He told me of all the "wonderful" surgeons & other members of the "team"......

  • wallycat
    wallycat Member Posts: 1,185

    My doctors (all of them) were wrong on everything.

    Mammogram: they swore nothing there, but my dreams led me to think otherwise so they did ultrasound.  Still not definitive so MRI.

    Radiologist saw my MRI and swore it was less than 3% chance to be cancer.  I told her it would be cancer; she actually got mad at me for assuming "the worst."  She cried when she called me with the news.

    Breast surgeon:  Swore MRIs are 99% accurate and my 7mm tumor would be just that.  Told him he would be wrong.  Turned out to be 1.8cm.

    Until it is in a dish or on a slab and they are looking at actual information, I say do not believe what they imply and don't get yourself worried or upset about what may or may not be.

    Best to you!!

  • sndlu49
    sndlu49 Member Posts: 4

    I had a core biopsy 2 days ago for calcifications.  I asked the radiologist what she thought and she said she couldn't tell anything .  So here I wait for that phone call :(

  • Dixiemine30
    Dixiemine30 Member Posts: 16

    sndlu49 -- I am so sorry...waiting is the worst!!!!  Hopefully you will hear something today, it's generally a 2 day wait.  I'm saying a prayer for you right now.  Please let us know when you hear from them.

  • lea321
    lea321 Member Posts: 6

    the timing on this post is right on.  I had my biopsy 3 hours ago. after going thru DCIS 3 years ago, this is very stressful and I have been thinking the worst!  I asked the exact same thing, "what do you think my chances are?" and i got the whole 80% its benign answer.  I felt better, but after seeing some of these other posts, not so sure now.  But I am going to do the very best that I can to put it to the back of my mind, and enjoy the weekend.

  • otter
    otter Member Posts: 757

    I'll put this in the "IMHO" and "FWIW" categories: 

    Some of you are angry that your radiologists "did not tell you the truth" when they obviously knew you had cancer, or at least had a very high probability of having cancer.  Basically, those radiologists deferred to the pathologist who would be reading your slides for a definitive answer.  If radiologists could be that certain and their judgments were that infallible, there would be no need for a biopsy before sending us to surgery.

    Sure, some lesions look so funky on a mammogram or ultrasound image that there's little chance of them being benign.  But, even a "BIRADS 5" doesn't always turn out to be malignant; and there must be thousands of women with "BIRADS 2" reports out there who ended up needing a mastectomy and chemo.  I did.

    Re:  "... radiologists assign the birads category and they do that based on the US and diagnostic mammo information. If a radiologist is reassuring, ask him/her what birads category they are going to give you and that is very useful information. If it is below 5, be reassured."

    It might seem reassuring to get a BIRADS score below 5.  I know I'd sure rather have a 2 than a 5, any day... but we need to keep in mind that those assignments are based on what is basically a shadow on a photographic image (film or digital).  BIRADS scores can be untrustworthy.  My digital, diagnostic mammogram images were given a BIRADS 2 classification half an hour before my US-guided core biopsy was done.  The biopsy revealed a 1.8 cm, Grade 2 IDC that ended up being aggressive enough to warrant chemo.  The problem was that my tumor was hidden behind or within some very dense breast tissue that obscured all the calcifications and spiculation.

    I'm sorry if this post sounds preachy. I know it can be very frustrating when a doctor insists he or she "doesn't know"; but if they really did know, they would tell you.  Despite all his/her training, expertise, and diagnostic wizardry, a radiologist cannot "know" you have cancer.  He or she could hazard a guess, or maybe even assign a probability (as requested by the O.P.)... but think about how disheartening it would be if that prediction was totally wrong.  There's another thread on these boards in which women are describing having thought they did not have cancer when it turned out they really did.

    So, which is worst?:  A doctor telling you the area in your breast is highly likely to be malignant, but it turns out to be benign; or telling you there is little chance the lesion is cancerous, when it actually is; or simply saying he or she does not have enough information at this point and cannot give you a reliable prediction?


  • GointoCarolina
    GointoCarolina Member Posts: 95

    Unless a radiologist is a physician ,they are not allowed to tell you anything,it must come from a physician.When I had my diagnostic mammo,I had a doctor there.He told me "This is not what we want to see,this does not look good." I was sent to a breast center the next morning for a biopsy,the surgeon told me there was a less than 10% chance it was not cancer.For multiple reasons,I had another surgeon do my mast.He showed me my mammo and explained everything to me that led the radiologist to be concerned.The size,the shape,very ragged edges,necrosis and calcifications.I do wish the radiologist had let me be hopeful for a while longer and that  the first surgeon had said"I can't be sure without a biopsy".Even with what they said,I was not prepared when I got the call saying"you have cancer."

  • otter
    otter Member Posts: 757

    Now I'm going to have to argue the other side.

    Re:  "Unless a radiologist is a physician ,they are not allowed to tell you anything,it must come from a physician."

    Radiologists are physicians.  They graduate from the same medical schools, and take the same (initial) board exams, and have the same licenses to practice medicine, as "real" physicians.  The "M.D." after their names carries the same weight as the "M.D." after the name of a surgeon or a medical oncologist or... a pathologist.  The difference is that a radiologist must complete a multi-year residency (and sometimes a fellowship) program and be "board-certified" in the specialty of radiology. (See: )

    Perhaps someone was thinking of a radiologic technologist, or a radiographer.  Those are skilled technical positions that do not require medical training.  And, yes, the rad technologist should not be telling us anything about the likelihood of malignancy or what our treatment plan might be.