ACR Appropriateness Criteria® Palpable Breast Masses

Expert Panel on Breast Imaging:

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Breast cancer is the most common female malignancy and the second leading cause of female cancer death in the United States. Although the majority of palpable breast lumps are benign, a new palpable breast mass is a common presenting sign of breast cancer. Any woman presenting with a palpable lesion should have a thorough clinical breast examination, but because many breast masses may not exhibit distinctive physical findings, imaging evaluation is necessary in almost all cases to characterize the palpable lesion. Recommended imaging options in the context of a palpable mass include diagnostic mammography and targeted-breast ultrasound and are dependent on patient age and degree of radiologic suspicion as detailed in the document Variants. There is little role for advanced technologies such as MRI, positron emission mammography, or molecular breast imaging in the evaluation of a palpable mass. When a suspicious finding is identified, biopsy is indicated. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed annually by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and revision include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of well-established methodologies (RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation or GRADE) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures for specific clinical scenarios. In those instances where evidence is lacking or equivocal, expert opinion may supplement the available evidence to recommend imaging or treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S203-S224
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • AUC
  • Appropriate Use Criteria
  • Appropriateness Criteria
  • breast
  • mammography
  • mass
  • palpable
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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