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microcalcifications
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microcalcifications

On 4/23 I had a BIRADS 3 (probably benign)  finding for "... microcalcifications which are scattered and not tightly clustered.  They do not appear suspicious" in upper outer right breast after a diagnostic mammo.  "Given the questionable increase in number" from prior exam, recommendation is to repeat diagnostic in 6mo. This questionable area is also asymetrically dense.  I actually have the films right now and even I can see a definite increase in number.  They do appear loosely grouped in a couple of areas, linear in another, and scattered as well.  It is in a dense area so it's hard for me see everything plus I realize I have untrained eyes.

My radiologist report two years (a different radiologist) ago raised questions about the same area but after reviewing previous films from 4 years prior the area was deemed stable.  The report did go on to say that both breasts contain nodular glandular tissue which "can decrease the sensitivity of mammograpy for detecting malignant lesions, and a negative mammogram in this setting should not dissuade biopsy of a clinically suspicious lesion."  

Is there someone out there with similiar issues who consulted with a breast surgeon for peace of mind.   I have a referral to a breast surgeon (5/19) from my physican since I had some concerns but after doing alot of reading I'm now doubting the necessity of it even though I can't seem to shake it from my mind after almost a month.  Any one out there whose 'gut feeling' found them to actually be in that 2% of  "not probably benign" under similiar circumstances?

By the way I'm about to turn 43, have four kids, and no immediate family members with BC.  Just two uncles recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.  All of my mammograms from the past two years have been performed at a Diagnostic Imaging Center, not a breast center.
  Thanks!
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8 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi there.

The increase in microcalcifications with a BIRADS 3 reading portends to a benign condition, probably fibrocystic breast changes.  The recommendation of repeating the mammogram at 6 month interval seems sound.  However, the peace of mind issue is harder to address because although the risk of malignancy is small, the risk is there and it is real.  The breast surgeon referral will be welcome and probably settle things.  You can be advised to undergo a definitive biopsy procedure to ascertain the nature of the mammogram findings.

Regards and God bless.
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Avatar_f_tn
Since I find it informative to read followup posts I'll do the same.  I saw the breast specialist regarding my increase in microcalcifications on the upper outer right side.  I am very glad I did.  I feel that if at some point a malignancy is found that I'm now in the right hands.  I've never, not even at my ob/gyn, had such a thorough breast exam.  She also went over all my films with me, answered any and all questions I had, and validated my concerns.  My options are do have a digitial mammogram now (I've not have it digitally before) or wait another five months.    I've opted to wait since she gave me no reason to believe we're looking at a malignancy at this point. Just knowing that I have a specialist monitoring things has given me more peace of mind. It will still be a test of patience for me since it's still hard to have it unresolved but I'll try.  To anyone else whose has gotten a "probably benign" rating and is having a hard time feeling at ease with it I would recommend going to a breast specialist if you haven't already done so.    
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Avatar_n_tn
hi, i felt like i was reading my own post when i started to read yours.  i too had a mammo on 4/23 which was a birad 3 (probably benign) cluster of new calcifications.  ive had numerous biopsies for clustered and linear calcifications all of which were benign.  i have had, however, a breast cancer in 2001 which was not found by calcifications but was an actual hard lump without any calcium.  i have decided with the advice of my breast surgeon to go ahead with the biopsy i guess because of my prior history.  i suppose i could wait which is something i would normally do, but  ive decided ive had enough thinking about it and dont want to go into the november, december holiday season in limbo. so, anyway, let me know how ur doing and i will too.  if you want to write, im here.  take care.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks.  Did your lump occur between routine mammos?   Are these microcals in the opposite breast?  Hope all turns out well with your latest biopsy. We've been on vacation so I've been able to push it to the back of my mind for awhile.  It's still pops ups now and then.  I find it interesting from reading these posts that some women have biopsies for just a few microcals while others like myself who have more than that are told to wait the six months.  Perhaps it's the shape of those few microcals or perhaps it's just that some DR. are more cautious than others??  
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,
I just wanted share my experience so far.  I had a routine mammogram 2 weeks ago and there is a very small spot of microcalcifications that I went back for two days later to get more views.  The radiologist was kind enough to show me all my films and the area he was checking.  They are so small he had to magnify it quite large for me to even be able to see it, and there is only about 4.  I have no palpable lump.  He did tell me that I could wait 6 months and re-check, and that in his opinion it is probably benign, although he cannot say that with any certainty without a biopsy of course.   I chose to have a biopsy instead of waiting.  He said he thought the best approach would be stereotactic, and I went to have that, but they were unable to perform the biopsy due to trouble viewing the spot, and my breast being compressed to flat for the needle.  I am now scheduled to have a needle localization surgical excision on tues.  I think I will feel much better and have peace of mind if they just take it out.  The surgeon I consulted with said she thinks it is benign also after viewing films.  I think it is a personal decision you have to make, no right or wrong.  I am 41 yrs. old, no hx, and have three children.
Best of luck and I hope this info helps a little
alicia
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks, it does help.   Were your four microcals considered clustered? Was your mammo digitial?
In a way I'm challenging myself to be patient and wait out the rest of the six months (4 1/2 now but whose counting) since the radiologist and the breast specialist felt my microcals did not appear suspicious. It's the slight increase in number that is questionable so it definitely needs to be monitored.  Since I'm only 43 and already having these microcalcifications issues, chances are this won't be the first time I'm recalled so perhaps I better get used to having my patience tested. I'm assuming whenever they show instability I'll be recalled.  Personally I'm not sure how I'd handle repeated biopsies each time there was a change.  That must be really difficult physically and emotionally.
During all of this I was scheduled for abdominal hernia repair surgery.  In between my dianostic mammogram and my "peace of mind" appt with the breast specialist I had my hernia surgery. I think that was another reason why I decided to not pursue the breast issue further right now.  Although my hernia repair wasn't that big of a deal I was ready for a break and a vacation!  I've been looking at it more like this... when my hernia surgeon told me I have a 2% chance of my hernia reoccuring I thought nothing of it....that's great odds that it won't reoccur...I probably won't even give it much thought at all.  But...when I read that "probably beign" ( BIRADS 3) ratings like mine turn out to be cancer in only 2% of cases I wouldn't let myself be comforted by that. Why?  It's the same odds!  Although the chance of breast cancer verses the chance of my hernia reoccuring is by far more frightening, thinking about it this way puts it in perspective for me.  I'm in good hands with the specialist and even if something comes up more suspicious by Oct. it will still be very early.  I just have to keep reminding myself of that and not let it consume my thoughts.  Good luck with your biopsy next week.  Best wishes to you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes, mine are a very small cluster, and yes to the digital also.  One thing I forgot to mention was that when I was 35 I had my first mammo because my gyn felt a lump.  It ended up being just a cyst and no big deal.  Because that mammo was done they considered it to be my "baseline".  Because these microcals were found on this one, which is really my first due to age, they are sending me for a biopsy....if I never had the other done, I would be in your position, to wait and re-check in 6 months.  I too am worried about having to now deal with this every year for the rest of my life.....more biopsies, more stress.....it's not easy.  There are so many women on here that have been through a lot worse, and reading their stories gives me strength, and I know I am not alone.  Just stay on top of it, and try not to worry too much.  Live your life.  I know I  had a hard time living mine the past three weeks. Best wishes to you too.
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Avatar_f_tn
How did your biopsy go?
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