I am 40 years old and just had my first mammogram. I was told I had an area of microcalcifications and had to go back for another mammogram and ultrasound. Then they said I had an area of asymmetric density with calcifcations but they want to wait six months and do another mammogram. I am concerned because the report said that it's in the upper outer quadrant and I just read that's where 50% of cancers start. The report says "Probably benign. The area of asymmetric density...appeared to compress out...ultrasound was negative. There were some scattered benign appearing calcifications." Also, I am trying to conceive and if we are able to I wouldn't want to have to do another mammogram while pregnant. I called back and let them know that since no one asked me and the Dr. is supposed to be alerted and someone will get back to me.
Should I be concerned if they just want to wait? My gut tells me there could be something wrong but maybe I am just over worrying?
Dear Roisin: It is not uncommon, particularly with a “first” mammogram, to find an area of abnormality that requires additional views. In many cases, the density disappears on spot compression indicating that it may have simply been tissue that folded over on itself in the initial mammogram. Microcalcifications are small calcium deposits found within the breast tissue and these are normal. Microcalcifications in and of themselves are not a condition that would become cancerous. However they can be a sign of a problem that may need further investigation based on their appearance on a mammogram. For instance microcalcifications that are more scattered are probably due to a benign (non-cancerous) cause and microcalcificatins that form a cluster may increase concern that there may be an underlying tumor. Microcalcifications that are indeterminate may need further investigation such as a diagnostic mammogram to further characterize the calcifications. Since you are planning a pregnancy, you should let your doctor know and discuss options for how to approach this issue. Mammogram would not be recommended while pregnant. If you remain concerned, you may want to consider a second opinion from a breast specialist. These are often affiliated with large academic medical centers.
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