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Cluster of Calcification in Mammogram
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Cluster of Calcification in Mammogram

I am having a breast biopsy done this Friday due to a circle cluster of calcification.  Apparently a year ago I had only a scatter pattern of no concern.  What causes this calcium deposits, can I change something I am doing exercise and eating?  Also, I have read I have a 4 / 5 chance of it not being cancer, is this accurate?  Or are the chances higher with it being in a circle pattern?
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Dear Under Forty Pam:  Microcalcifications are small calcium deposits found within the breast tissue.  There are different types of microcalcifications, and based on their pattern on the mammogram it gives the radiologist clues as to their cause.  For instance microcalcifications that are more scattered are probably due to a benign (non-cancerous) cause which may be due to normal wear and tear on the breast tissue.  A
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Avatar_n_tn
A little more info.  I am 39 yrs old.  During the magnified mammogram a bit of clear fluid came out.  My mom and sister have had fluid filled cysts that were drained with a small needle in the office and I suspected mine might be the same thing especially after the fluid, perhaps it burst with that discharge.  I asked and they said it wasn't that.  I am worried this surgeon is doing a biopsy for nothing when it could be a fluid cysts. Am I undergoing more pain for nothing?  Should a different test be done first?  I am concerned this biopsy will hurt and leave me no more answers than I have now after reading several others posts on this site.
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Once last thing I can think of it is a stereotactic biopsy they are performing this Fri.
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The needle biopsies are a wonderful tool- a less invasive way to find out what is behind the calcifications.  I had one (stereotactic vacume assisted) the first of May.  I was skeptical too, but my cysts in the other breast definately show in ultrasound.  The radiologist told me calcifications weren't typical in cysts. the patterns tell them it may be following a duct or lobe, so the two most common early cancers may be suspect.

Many times the needle biopsy allows them to rule out ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS- non invasive and stage 0) or lubuleCIS.  You may be told about atypical hyperplasia- the cells are growing in an unusual fashion, but are not carcinoma. The needle biopsy can give them tissue to examine, without an open incision(the other option!). My scar now looks like a weak freckle. I had very little discomfort and in fact went back to teach school that afternoon.  I had very little bruising also.

It also allowed pathology to find too many markers, so in short I am now free of the DCIS that was found, with additional surgery.  It was very early because of the mammogram and the needle biopsy.  It may have been at least 2 more years before a lump would have been found, and may have been invasive by then.

Take one step at a time, and trust you are being very responsible for your health by taking this PREVENTATIVE step!
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Avatar_n_tn
Muse2 - I am glad to hear about your little discomfort and bruising.  I am a very active person and the thought of sitting down and doing nothing for 4-5 days is killing me.  Were you actually able to do more strenous things quickly afterward?  I know softball for that night is out but when can I get back to lifting, moving, running, etc.
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How do I prevent myself from continuing to get microcalcifications?
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Avatar_n_tn
The biopsy from Friday is over, I am at home recovering.  Very little brusing, a little pain involved but not too bad.  I did have some bleeding that started up out of nowhere when I removed the bandaid on Sat night, hope that isn't sign of any problems in the healing.  Now I am just sitting and waiting for the results on Mon or Tue.  All this waiting is the hardest part.
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, the waiting is the hard part.  Hopefully they answered your questions on when to get active again. I've always been told, "when you feel up to it" .  Basically for me I was back at daily activity and excersice the next day- just a few lifting things (I'm a teacher moving equipment) that I planned ahead how to push/lift.

Can't prevent calcifications- the benign ones are from aging, maybe a tissue injury.  I don't what the nurse meant by that, but I picture getting hit in chest with a ball during a game.  So aside from lowering your cancer risk and any calcifications from that cause, it's all natural.

I'll think good thoughts for your results.  When the office calls with results, ask and verify that is ALL the reports, and there's not an interpretation still out there.  I did not know until a call ten days later that pathology had been sent for a second opinion.
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Avatar_n_tn
They just told me today after my mag mammogram that they want me to have a biopsy on small clusters of calcifications in my left breat. Needless to say I am frightened. They are so tiny yet very scary. Can anyone tell me what the odds are for it being cancer? Also, I have yet to discuss the biopsy options, but isn't there a way that they can use an injectable dye that lights up when it's cancer? I had a friend who had cancer and that's what she did as a follow-up every six months after treatment. Does anyone know what it's called so I can request it?
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Avatar_n_tn
GET THE BIOPSY ASAP.  I too had a cluster of microcalcifications appearing for the first time in April 2006.  The surgeon said the chance of malignancy is 15%. Mine proved to be infiltrating ductal carcinoma.  I had an open biopsy guided by blue dye localization which was done the evening prior to biopsy by the radiologist. The injection was not pleasant; the biopsy for me was easy to recover from.  Subsequently, I had a successful lumpectomy with clean margins and negative nodes.  The WORST PART is to come next week:  Adjuvant chemo.  I am not happy about it at all but to quote another, "it's better to get the ant with a cannonball than to get the tiger with the pea shooter". DON'T WAIT.  IF IT PROVES TO BE CANCER, YOU WANT TO GET IT EARLY.  GOOD LUCK.
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry to hear yours was cancer. I will get the biopsy, I just wanted to know what the dye procedure is called. I guess I thought they just did the dye without surgery first, to determine if it was cancer. Can I ask how old you are? Also, if this was done in April, why are you just now getting chemo and why not radiation only?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I noticed you are great about responding to concerns and I would like to know how often benign biopsies for microcalcifications turn out to be sclerosing adenosis? I do have a slight amount of breast pain, which they say could be a symptom. Can't the radiologist tell if it's this condition, vs cancer? Thanks!
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Avatar_n_tn
I am not aware of any dye procedure performed to "highlight" any lesions prior to testing.  Could you be thinking about some type of test using heat (thermal?)??  Since I had no palpable lump, blue dye had to be inserted at the microcalification site so that the surgeon knew what area had to be removed.

I will be 52 in December.  Here is my story:
My biopsy was performed April 26 which returned a 1.4 cm tumor. My surgeon recommended a lumpectomy followed by radiation, adding that if chemo is warranted, the chemo must be done before the radiation.   My lumpectomy and sentinal node biopsy (more blue dye!) was May 24 which returned a residual 1 cm tumor.  My margins were clean and my nodes (sentinal +3) were negative.  If I didn't have that lousy 1 cm residual, my surgeon would have ordered me to rest my body for about three weeks and then begin radiation.  But no, I had to see a medical oncologist first.  Result:  Tumor size 2.4 and HER2 amplified warrant adjuvant chemo to reduce the reduction of recurrence down the line.  The reason for the chemo beginning next week:  Resting my body for three weeks; waiting an additional week for an appointment; waiting another week for the results of the Oncotype DX test; waiting for my oncologist to return from a 2 week vacation; seeing another for a second opinion.  My oncologist assured me that beginning next week is still "not over the fence yet". I trust his opinion. I am not happy about it, but I know in years to come I'll be kicking myself you know where if I didn't do it.  Right now, this is all conventional medicine can offer us.  What a rotten, lousy disease.  I can go on and on.........
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I got my results now too, I have cancer, early stage but even more scared now.  The plan is for a lumpectomy, radition and Tamoxofin.  I am getting a second opinion on Monday to validate it.

Does anyone know anything about Mammocite radiation, my Dr. told me I was a good candidate.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Pam,
I'm 40 and sounds like we are similar with our DX. I am getting a mastectomy for it though. I was given the choice between wide excision with radiation or a mast.

Have you tried breastcancer.org--lost of info over there too.

Best wishes for you,

Bay
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry to hear about your results.  Not to be cocky, but welcome to the club.

Staging is a VERY complex process. You really won't know what your stage is until the final path report after your lumpectomy.  Do yourself a big favor:  Learn everything you can so that you can be an active participant in your treatment. I started with Susan Love's Breast Book and found that Breast Cancer for Dummies (really) was very helpful. Good luck.  I will be glad to talk to you more about this.  It helps me too!


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My cancer is ductal in situ, 4 mm.  The Dr. is planning to take a golf ball size chuck out next, seems huge to me and considering I am not exactly Dolly Parton to begin with I am nervous it will really show almost like a mastectomy.  Compared to some stories on here I shouldn't complain since the size is small but the golf ball removal scares the daylights out of me.
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Avatar_n_tn
DCIS.  If you are going to get breast Ca, this is the one to get.  Your cure rate is the highest and no chemo for you! My lumpectomy made me somewhat lopsided.  It is definitely perkier than the other. WHAT MATTERS:  I still have it.  See how you heal.  You can always down the line get an implant if it really bothers you.
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Thanks everyone for your support, there is a lot of internet research out there, some is good and some scares me more.  It is hard to weed out which ones to believe.  I like being able to ask fellow (what's the female version of fellow) club members.  Sorry to say I never wanted to join this club but I'm glad it is here.  

Has anyone had Mammosite for radiation?
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Avatar_n_tn
I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but it really does sound like you caught it very early. I agree with avidhiker that you need to be assertive/aggressive in getting all the information you can, from your doctors, etc. and be an active participant, which sounds like you are. I just went for a surgical consult this AM (after my mag mammo yesterday) and feel a bit better. I will have to have the sterotactic mammo as well, maybe as early as next week. The surgeon was awesome and she had had the procedure herself, so that really helped me. So, worse case, I'm looking at the same situation you are in and I don't feel as scared as I was. The very best of luck and I'll pray that all comes out well for you.
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I will pray for you too, I hope your results turn out better than mine.  The procedure itself takes about 12 seconds, it is all about the prepping, picture after picture after picture.  Right now my surgery is scheduled for July 31 but I have my second opinion today.  We'll see if that changes anything.
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I changed to my second opinion and now my surgery is tomorrow July 28.  I am nervous as heck but a gals gotta do what a gals gotta do.
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Well I went fo my stereo-tactic yesterday and it didn't work. Besides being VERY painful due to not enough drugs and after laying on the table for 2+ hours, he couldn't get a sample. I am told that my only option is a wire localization. While I will do what I need to do, I am thinking of having a second opinion by a doctor who specializes in breast imaging. With 36A breasts and having had 2 benign surgeries on the other breast in the past, I'm not going to be as passive about this one. Especially after all of the anxiety it has provoked. Good luck with your surgery and I'll say some prayers that all goes great, which I'm sure it will! Take deep breaths and tell them you want plenty of pain medication!!
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I am having a wire localization as part 1 of the surgery tomorrow, I'll let you know how it is.  Please do see a real dedicated breast surgeon, they know more and are probably more proficient.  The wire localization is just to guide the surgeon to where they placed the clip at in the biopsy.  I don't understand why you would get a wire without an effective biopsy and in the process of a lumpectomy.  Get a second.
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I made an appointment for next Friday with a cancer surgeon at a university hospital for a second opinion and am sending him my films. He is supposed to be one of the best in the city and has a top notch radiologist he uses who specializes in breast imaging. I was told by his nurse that when and if he has to do an excisional or wire localization biopsy and strongly feels it may be DCIS, he does take out just enough tissue to leave room for a mammocite balloon implant, should it end up being cancer. Then it's only 5 days of radiation with the mammocite. I feel better, more in control. Thanks for your support and let me know how it goes. Good luck & blessings to you!
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It turns out I am too young for mammocite, I guess they recommend it on post-menapausal women most.  I am glad to hear to are getting a second.  I am home from surgery now and feeling pretty good as long as I don't use my arm too much.  I think the surgeon does really really matter.  The day after my biopsy I was really really sore still and it still hurt and was bleeding a little after 2 weeks.  Now the day after my lumpectomy I feel half way decent, better compared to one day post biopsy.  I only took a few Tylenol last night and nothing so far today for the pain.  Now I just pray on the test results.  If you need someone in Illinois let me know I've got a good one.
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Glad to see you are home. Boy you did not stay in hospital long. Didn't you just go yesterday? Been waiting for you to post. Glad to hear you have little pain. Did they put you to sleep? How long did it take for you to wake up? You can answer when you feel better. Sorry to bomdard you with questions. Prayers are with you. Sorry you/we all have to wait so long for the results.
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It was an outpatient surgery, no overnight stay for me.  The wire thing was 10am and the surgery was suppose to be at 1pm but the surgeon was late, it started at 2pm, I remember looking at the clock in the OR room.  They put me out but not deeply out, no tube down my throat, more like if you had a tooth pulled.  They actually woke me up in the OR to ask me to move myself back off the operating table and on to the gurnee again.  I was a little out of it but I hoisted myself over and thought it was strange to wake up still in the OR room.  I don't really remember going to the room then just waking up again in the room.  I left at 5:15pm that same afternoon.  They said as long as I could eat some food and dispose of the food I could go home so I did both and got the heck outta there, I hate hospitals.
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Boninclyde - Have you received your test results yet?  Yours seems near the same spot as mine.  On my lumpectomy they cut along the outer edge of the nipple (areola).  I didn't know that was where they were going to cut.  I guess it is common there to minimize a scar, and they could be right, I am very swollen still but I can see where it might not be too noticeable.  I think my biopsy scar will show more but nobody is going to see them except my husband anyway.  Just giving you some thoughts to run by your surgeon if you end up that route.  Why are you considering a mastectomy, is it in your family or are you nervous about reoccurence?  You don't have to answer if you don't want to, just curious since nobody even suggested it to me.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been reading posts here and find them so helpful. I had a steriotactic biopsy done on Thursday and I am waiting for the results. Hopefully, I will get a call tomorrow.
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Avatar_n_tn
Keep us posted if you have questions, you become way too familiar with your own type of cancer in about one month.  We'll help.
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I just need a place here to vent and to share my experience. I went for a second opinion last Friday for a cluster of clacs (small cluster) that was unsuccessfully biopsied via stereotactic Mmammotome 2 weeks ago. This (2nd) doctor was a cancer surgeon who reviewed my films. He told me that if I was comfortable, I could wait 4 months and come back for another mammo to see if there's been any change and if no change, we continue in 6 month intervals for another year or so, just to make sure. He said that they were not "worrisome" to him, as described by the initial radiologist report. He even said that calcs often just disappear on their own. I trust that he knows what he's doing, since he has about 30+ years in medicine, most of it in cancer sugery and has worked at notable institutions lsuch as the Fox Chase Cancer Center. So, I'm writing this for all of you out there who are in the same anxiety-filled situation and are told the only option is an excisional biopsy for microcalcifications. You need know all of your options. You have the right to a second opinion from a breast/cancer specialist. Even if you go ahead with the surgical biopsy, you will feel better knowing you are in control of your own body. I'm not suggesting anyone forego a biopsy. I was and still am all for the stereotactic route. But with the alarmingly high number of needless sugeries, it is concerning to me that most of us just do whatever we're told, because it's one doctor or radiologist telling us to do it. They are not infallable and many are certainly not without the fear of being sued for not having ordered a biopsy. You also need to trust your gut. I know this is a breast cancer forum and I have tremendous respect for all of you who have been diagnosed and have struggled with this disease, but with 85% of these biopsies being benign, it seems that science needs to really ramp up the research to #1) eliminate this disease altogether and #2) develop better diagnostics to stop the needless anxiety and surgeries. Thanks for letting me vent and my very best to all of you.
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Do you have your results yet? Please keep us posted. We are all in this together.
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Please don't take me wrong but let me vent. I would like to know where the 85% is. They certainly don't seem to be on this world wide forum. I would get another biopsy any day. Why wait for something terrible. Thanks for your vent.
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Avatar_n_tn
Where in that post did you interpret that I was teling women not to get a biopsy? If you read what I wrote you'd know that, i.e. " I'm not suggesting anyone forego a biopsy". I had a stereotactic myself. I'm just saying get a second opinion if you feel it's warranted, especially if the stereotactic doesn't work. FACT: 80-85% of all microcalcification biopsies are benign. I was just trying to help scared, anxiety-ridden people like myself, but in NO WAY did I say not to get a biopsy. Thanks for letting me vent...again.
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Avatar_n_tn
While we are all venting, I can understand not being able to cure cancer and all but why can't they develop test results faster.  I mean is it really too much to ask to devote a little research to easing the aniexty that waiting 3-6 days for test results creates....
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127512_tn?1193745816
OK you did not say biopsy you said, "Needless surgery"! I thank God I had my "needless surgery" or they may have found my cancer to late. I wish I had a crystal ball and so do those surgeons. I am glad they are here maybe they can save my life. And the 85% you speak of is that 85% of 100, 1000, 10000 Ect. Those surveys can all be inturpted differently.
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Avatar_n_tn
The great thing about forums is that we are all supposed to be able to express ourselves openly, without feeling like we are being judged and/or attacked for our point of view. Unfortunately some people feel they are the "gatekeepers" of opinion and need to criticize, judge and or condemn someone else. This is a shame, because it prevents people from sharing their experience or expressing themselves and then they don't use forums like this anymore. Thanks for letting me share and my very best to all of you.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,
I feel so lucky to have found this site. I have read every word posted and it has helped to ease some of my fears.I am 55 years old and the mother of five. My mother is a post-menopausal breast cancer survivor (over 19 years!)
After putting it off for two years for one stupid reason or another, I had my mommogram yesterday. The films show that I have a small cluster of calcifications high up on my right breast. I have had other calcifications that were followed up with six month mommo and remianed unchanged, but these were new and a different type. I was scared enough when the radiologist pointed it out to me but my panic mode has gone into overdrive since then.
A good friend of mine is one of the top breast surgeons in the area. I immediately took all of the films to his office and had the radiologist fax him my report. He just called me to say that in the report the radiologist recommended a biopsy and after looking at the films, my friend the surgeon agrees. He said that it does not look particularly worrisome, but it is best to be safe. My spot has about eight calcifications in the cluster. Is this small?
There is that part of me that says it must be something serious, becuase my friend would not take any chances with me. I am worring myself into an early grave. Please help.
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127512_tn?1193745816
You are not wrong to worry. Any of us would worry. But unfortunately worry want do any good. Where are the new calcifications in the same breast as the older ones? Are they clustered together or spread out. Is there a lump or mass of any sort?
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127512_tn?1193745816
You are not wrong to worry. Any of us would worry. But unfortunately worry want do any good. Where are the new calcifications in the same breast as the older ones? Are they clustered together or spread out. Is there a lump or mass of any sort?
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Avatar_f_tn
A related discussion, Breast calcifications was started.
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A related discussion, microcalcifications in a circle cluster was started.
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