I wrote in last week about having to go back for a diagnostic mammo. and u/s. My appt. was 2/9 but they had a cancellation and I got to go in on 2/4. They did several views (some magnification views) on both breasts. An u/s was not done. When the radiologist came to talk to me, he told me that all of the questionable spots from the original mammogram turned out to all be benign breast changes like the surgeon had agreed. However, a new spot showed up on a view that was not seen before. It was an area of microcalcifications in my right breast. The radiologist said that he wanted me to have a biopsy because their appearance didn't really say cancer for sure, but they were more clustered than the type you just watch for 6 months are so. I will have my biopsy next week, after I have a wire put in by the radiologist to mark the spot. If this is cancer, is there any type that it will probably be? Do you think it is small enough to be treated? I am terrified. All I can do is look at my children and cry. Are there any specific questions I should ask my doctor? Thanks so much for being here!
Dear neatfreakmom: First of all, there is no certainty that this is cancer. 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, a
First of all, in general calcifications of the "indeterminate" kind turn out to be ok about 90% of the time. Second, if it were cancer, this is exactly the situation in which mammogram saves lives: for cancer to be found at the stage where the only sign is a few tiny calcifications, the most likely scenario by far is what's called DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ, which is essentially 100% curable. So the bottom line is the odds are very high that it won't be cancer; and if it is, it's most likely completely curable.
I just wanted to let you know that I know what you're going through. This is probably the scariest thing to deal with...the Not Knowing. I had cluster microcalc's and wire location biopsy last year.I was really freaking out because I have a strong family history of BC. As the surgeon says...most of the time these clusters are due to benign conditions. Mine were. I know its not easy not to worry but please try to be positive. Hopefully you will be like the majority of us who are the 90% of benign microcalc's. I wish you luck on your results. Take care
I can empathize! I am having a stereotactic biopsy this Friday for a cluster of calcifications, Birad 4 Suspicious. I have also been spending the past month afraid and crying over my children. The more I research on the internet, the more afraid I get, everything seems to point to cancer.
Like you, I was kinda freaked at the idea of the wire localization. It turned out to not be a big deal. In my case, it did take a while because they had wanted to do it by mammography but the lump was so far back against the chest wall they could only see it on one view and they need 2 different angles to find it precisely. So we ended up going over to ultrasound and they placed the wire there. The most painful part was the lidocaine injection to numb the area.
I just had a needle localization (two actually, first one wasn't close enough) and an excisional biopsy this past Friday 2/6). I'm fine; still a bit sore, but ok. I also had a stereotactic biopsy in early January, but they weren't able to get to the calcifications.
For me, the procedures themselves were more stressful than waiting for the pathology reports. I'm confident that the 75% benign situations will apply to me. My surgeon gave me 75/25 odds and I've seen 80/20. I'm truly not worried about the micro-calcifications being malignant, because as a surgeon pointed out here and as my own surgeon indicated, THIS is the time you want them to FIND the malignancy if there is one. I'll deal with the results as I receive them. Best of luck to you as you go through your procedures. Although easier said than done, please don't unduly stress yourself.
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