Breast Cancer Expert Forum
Impact of Age on Percentage of Positive Calification Cluster/Biopsy
About This Forum:

Questions posted in the Breast Cancer Forum are answered by medical professionals and experts. Topics include Breast Biopsy, Chemotherapy, Hormone Therapy, Lumps, Lumpectomy, Lymph node dissection, Lymphedema, Mammograms, Mastectomy, Radiation Therapy, Reconstruction, Self Breast Exam, and Surgery.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

Impact of Age on Percentage of Positive Calification Cluster/Biopsy

On this cite I've seen that the percentage of biopsies of calcification clusters that are in fact cancer vs. benign are very small, seems like 15% is proposed. I'm wondering if this percentage varies by age? I'm 37 and a suspicious calcification cluster was found in a routine mammogram last month and again in magnified mammogram last week, I'm having a biopsy this week (my mother also had breast cancer at age 48. I'm wondering if the percentage of non-cancer findings is higher over 50/under 50 or over 40/under 40. Thank you,
Related Discussions
242529_tn?1292452814
Dear blkw, Microcalcifications are actually very fine specks of calcium that light up on a mammogram.  A large percentage of microcalcifications have nothing to do with cancer and probably the result of normal wear and tear on the breast, so as a person ages you may see more.  However, 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, a
12 Comments
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
My most recent mammogram showed 2 areas of new microcalification -- very small.  A MRI described the area as "diffuse small nodular to stippled enhancement appearance, without a discrete or dominant hypervascular mass or focal areas of suspicious appearing non mass enhancement.  No abnormal appearing axillary lymph nodes identified."

My doctor wants me to get a core biopsy.  I want to wait and be rechecked in 6 months.  If this is cancer, chances are it would be DICS.  Since this is contained in the duct, would waiting 6 months be so dangerous?  I fear that the small areas will be difficult to find and remove and I could be like one of the women writing here, where the radiologist miss the area and a second procedure is indicated.  

The radiologists commented that he may not be able to do a core biopsy because I have small breasts and there may not be sufficient mass to use the size needle necessary for this procedure.  How is this handled when a biopsy is indicated?

Thanks for your input    
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I am so terrified right now, it almost seems surreal.  I had a mammogram yesterday (I'm 45 and have only had one other about 8 years ago), no cancer of any kind in my family history, but I received a call today that I have calicification in my right breast and the doctor wants to do more xrays.  I didn't know to ask if they were microcalcifications...do I assume that if the doctor wants more xrays, it's because he thinks that they are not harmless?  They can't see me until next Thursday (6 long days away!) and my husband and I are so scared.  Should I call them back on Monday and ask for clarification (whether they are clustered or whether or not the doctor is doing a routine re-check or if he is wanting more xrays because he thinks it is cancer?).  I remember the nurse mentioning that there were "specks" on the xray.  
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
The medical person only answers the original question. My answer is based on my personal experience with calcifications and my opinion.

The final decision on whether or not to have the biopsy is up to you. But, you need to be sure you have the best possible info before you make up your mind. What is your birad rating? Did you get a copy of your radiology report? Have you considered getting a second opinion? Sometimes more experienced radiologists disagree with the need for a biopsy feeling the calcs are benign  (I 've had this happen to me twice!) Also, if you choose to follow-up in 6 months, the wait can be extremely stressful unless you're totally comfortable with waiting (I've also experienced that.) Depending on your BIRAD rating and other personal circumstances, it could well be reasonable to wait 6 months for another mammo, but that's something I personally would want to have okayed by the doctor.

Core biopsies are less invasive than excisional biopsies, so they often do them first. However, if they aren't successful with a core biopsy they would likely do a needle directed biopsy where they locate the calcs using mammogram, mark the spot with a needle(s), and remove the entire area surgically. Other doctors prefer to skip the core and remove the entire area right off the bat. One advantage of doing this is that if cancer is found, often the entire area was removed with the excisional biopsy and no further  surgery is necessary.  Of course, I'm oversimplifying this, but hope the info helps. I've had both types of biopsies and they take a day out of your work schedule, but other than that my experiences weren't bad at all.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Callbacks on mammograms are not that unusual. I'm quite sure they are microcalcifications they want to get a closer look. They'll take magnified views of the area to get a better look to see if they are in a suspicious formation. They may also do an ultrasound of that breast to make sure there is no suspicious mass. I'm 49 and have been dealing with calcifications for 9 years with 2 benign biopsies for calcs and currently do follow-up every 6 months. Other women get called back 1 time on calcifications and never hear about them again. My comments are from personal experience only since I have no medical background.

Calcifications are often just a normal result of aging. Many women have them, and only some become suspicious. They called you back because they need a closer look to see if yours are suspicious. 85% of calcs are BENIGN. Even if they are cancerous, most of the time they indicate a very early cancer, so pleeeeeeease don't dwell on the "c" word.

Whether they recommend biopsy or not I would request a copy of the radiology report. It's best to be as informed as possible. Also, if you look at other posts at this site you will find a number of women who tell their story of calcifications and then come back after a biopsy to let us know their biopsy was benign. I certainly hope you join that group.

I understand your fear at being called back for more views but hope you can try to dwell on more positive things while you wait. Waiting is the hardest part.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Try not to be so nervous.  I had a mammogram and the findings were that they wanted additional views due to califications. I waited 1 month for the follow up appointment and the magnified mammogram showed a calification cluster that suggested a finding that could be cancer, a  biopsy was recommended for 1 week later. My mother had breast cancer and I lost a sister to blood cancer, thus I had a restless week, but the biopsy was totally benign.  I've learned califications are incredibly common and benign in 85% of biopsies. It does seem important to check it out and be sure everything is okay, but I had a lot of needless worry. I hope all will be well with you as well.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Hi Beverly,

I am 45 and have been following a cluster of calcifications myself for a year now with NO change. The percentage of these being cancerous are very low, but most docs want to biopsy suspicious ones to make sure. I had a second opinion at a breast center at my local university and made the decision to follow-up with 6 month magnification mammo's every 6 months for 2 years. It is your decision on what you are most comfortable doing, but don't let this keep you up at night. The best thing my second opinion doctor said that made me feel better was that calcs are so tiny that even if they are pre-cancerous it would take almost two years for them to form into a cancer, so time is definitely on you side either way.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for all of the posts regarding my breast calicifications.  The follow up mammogram indicated at least 7 calcifications visible on the xray and my doctor gave me the option of either waiting for 6 months or to have a stereotactic biopsy.  I chose the biopsy route and had it yesterday.  All of the calcifications were taken out and I could see from the xray that most were round, but one tiny one was "sickle-shaped" (for lack of a better word).  Since I had the procedure on Friday afternoon, I probably won't get the results until Tuesday or Wednesday.  The procedure itself wasn't too bad - some mild stinging and a small amount of aching in the nipple area.  Today I am starting to feel bruised and have had mild pain.  Nothing I can't handle.  I have used homemade ice packs made with 1 part alcohol and 2 parts water in a zip-lock bag and the slushy contents are a lot more comfortable than the regular hard ice packs.  So, I guess now it's wait and see.  I am trying not to think about what could happen.  I know the odds are in my favor.  However, it's going to be a long weekend.  Thanks again to everyone for their helpful comments.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for the tip on the homemade ice packs. I'll have to remember that. Thanks also for letting us know how the biopsy went. Please continue to keep us posted.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have a 1.5 cm breast mass. 35 y/o found on mri and chest xray. I will have mri biopsy on the 19th. Of masses found on mri, what is the current  percentage to be found cancerous? The mri states suspicious for malignancy. Thank you
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
The medical professional only answers the initial question. Wish I could help you but I'm not very familiar with breast MRI's. Have you tried doing a web search?
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Well, it was not my lucky day.  I have DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situs) which of course means that I'm malignant.  My life has been turned upside down in the last 24 hours.  I have an appointment with an oncologist on Thursday to discuss treatment.  I have no apparent risk factors and yes, I am more than a little bitter.  Sorry....I'm still feeling sorry for myself.  I guess I am going to face probably a lumpectomy and maybe radiation.  I am trying to figure out how this is fair.  I guess life just isn't sometimes.....
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
Aug 28 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
233488_tn?1310696703
Blank
New Cannabis Article from NORTH Mag...
Jul 20 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank