Dear LynnH, Microcalcifications are actually very fine specks of calcium that light up on a mammogram. Sometimes they can be an indication of cancer or precancer. 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
Microcalcifications are a normal part of the aging process. Many women have them appear on mammograms in benign patterns so nothing is done. But certain patterns of calcifications can indicate possible malignancy or premalignancy. One theory is that with malignant/premalignant conditions there is an abnormal production and turn over or death of cells. Calcium is a by-product of cell death. Radiologists study the pattern calcifications make to determine if they were caused by a benign condition or a malignancy. Of course, only a biopsy tells for sure.
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