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Avatar universal

Clustered Microcalcification

I'm very new at this, on July 26th I had a mammogram & was called back for a magnified mommogram. I have been called and told I need to see the surgeon on Aug. 8th to schedule a biopsy. My report read, Clustered Microcalcification of the left breast at 1:00 outer BIRAD-4. So I'm in panic mode, I live in a very Rural area, I'm 43 this is my second mammogram. I'm scared to death, not sure what to expect or what the statistics are. I have had no symtoms until I had the magnified test now my breast is sore and has a burning sensation. Is this normal??
I have very small breast, what should I expect in the up coming weeks. I need help, I'm still trying to understand all of this. Now every ache & pain I feel through out my body I panic. There is no history of breast cancer in my family. There isn't really anyone to talk to here, and the doctors office people don't seem to be the compassionate type of people. Any help/advice would be appreciated.
45 Responses
Avatar universal
Dear mel43:  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 "cluster" of microcalcifications may increase concern that there may be an underlying tumor.   A BIRAD 4 category means that there is a suspicious abnormality. Most category 4 abnormalities are benign but may require biopsy since this category can be malignant in 25-50% of cases.  Many women have sore breasts after a mammogram.  The discomfort you are having does is not an indication whether this is a benign or malignant abnormality.
Avatar universal
First of all, please relax yourself.  I know it is easier said than done, but do whatever it takes to calm down.

My surgeon told me that 15% of clustered microcalcifications prove to be malignant, so 85% of the time, they are benign. Unfortunately, mine proved to be cancer.  DEFINITELY HAVE A BIOPSY.  Don't ingore a BRAD4.  The earlier you get it, the better the prognosis.  GOOD LUCK.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your encouragement, it helps. I think what has me so scared and nervous is there has been 3 years between my mammagrams, reason being is a person is only so much time off work and I have a special needs child that I take to the doctor often and several miles from where we live. So now I'm so scared because I don't know how long it's been there. Has anyone had a burning sensation in their breast before? It's in the same place as this Cluster is at. I'm not sure what to think, I have so many thoughts and feelings going through my head right now.
Avatar universal
Forgot something, I said my head is spinning right now. How does a person go about finding a "Breast Specialist"??? Because I haven't had any luck trying to find one. If I type in Breast Specialist I get Plastic surgery, breast enlargements. Not what I'm looking for. I'm scheduled to see a regular surgeon, I wasn't asked I was told when my appointment was.
Avatar universal
It's always scary to be told you need a biopsy. I have had 2 biopsies for microcalcifications that were benign. My understanding is there are no outward signs (such as burning) for calcifications but I'm certainly no expert. I think if you do a search for Breast Specialist cancer you may get the info you want. That doesn't mean you have cancer, it just narrows the search. Also, remember a birad of 4 means they don't know if it is cancer or not, and the odds are strongly in your favor that it is not cancer. But, the only way you'll find out is to have a biopsy. Also, when my doctor called me she automatically set me up to see a surgeon, also. For calcifications they often recommend a stereotactic biopsy which is less invasive. There's a lot of info on the web on the various biopsies. I had one stereotactic biopsy and 5 years before that had a needle localized (or directed) biopsy for calcifications. Both of these biopsies take a day away from work but it's worth it and really not all that bad.
Avatar universal
To clarify my response, Breast Cancer Specialist would be a good way to search to find a specialist. There's lots of info on microcalcifications on the web also. That might answer your questions on burning and such.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your comments, it helps to have other people to talk to. I tried finding something on "burning sensation of the breast" but have found nothing. I had it for a couple of days and then it was gone. Any other time I wouldn't of thought much about it, but now I'm wondering.

Thanks
Avatar universal
I have nodules and cysts and feel a burning or pressure in the  specific area, especially right after a mammo, an ultrasound, and before my period. I've had the nodules and cysts for years, but it wasn't until after a biopsy last year, with clip inserted in the area, that I became much more sensitive. I don't believe it's any cause for concern. If you do some reading on nodules, you'll find that many women have pressure/burning in their breasts.
Avatar universal
Thank you all for all your help, as I stated earlier I live in a remote rural area and that makes it hard to find someone who understands. You all have been a lot of help and will let you know how it turns out.

Thank you
Avatar universal
hi mel this is teddy1 and i know what u are going thru. i had the same mamo and then the u s and then the biospy and then the cor biopsy. then the lumpeptomy. i have more to tell. but ill wait to hear from u . please dont get nervous. your situation can be fine. i do wish u luck.  if i can be of any support to u . please let me know.
Avatar universal
Hi Teddy1, it's nice to hear from someone who understands it's been a bad week for myself and husband and daughter. I try to keep what I can away from my daughter but being 16 she knows a lot, my husband tries hard to understand. I'm just so scared of everything that is going on and not knowing what to expect. I don't know what to ask the surgeon next week when I meet with him for my consultation, I'm still trying to get over the shock of having to have a byopsy.
Would like any advice you can give.
Avatar universal
hi, again. it is now frid eve. and im home. all i do is think about b c .  i had it in 04 . surgery in 05 and chemo finished in sept in 05. im am ok now.  if i can be on any help for you . i would be happy to answer anything u want. i am very honest. and i wish i had someone to ask questions back in 04 . it seems as though no one ever wanted to tell u anything. it is important to know the facts and the truth.  please dont hesitate to ask . and if i know the answers i will surely help .  where do u live . the state at least.  teddy1
Avatar universal
I live in the very northern part of Missouri, it's a rural area, farming area. What is a biopsy like? is it painful? the doctors office said something about a wire!!! very confusing for me.
Avatar universal
Dear Mel:

Many times it is not cancer.  So don't start to worry now.  You will feel better after you speak with your Surgeon. I know that panic feeling I had it when my biopsy showed I had stage one cancer in my right breat.  I decided if I did have cancer I would have the breast removed.  There are so many ways to take care of cancer with out having the breast removed.  My surgeon said if that was what I wanted it was fine with him.  I was glad I had a choice.  I am fine now and take a pill to help keep me free of cancer.  I know the word cancer is scary but it doesn't have too be they do miracles now. If you would like to E-mail me that would be fine.  I would love to help you anyway I can.  ***@****
Avatar universal
Mel, I had a biopsy last summer. I too was very scared. The procedure for me lasted about 1 1/2 hrs. and I did not feel any pain. In my case, the biopsy was on my left breast. So I was laying on my back with a foam wedge under my left shoulder blade and I had my left arm up over my head. There were two very nice nurses that took turns holding my arm steady, as it started shaking after about an hour of having it above my head. That truly was the most difficult part. As for the biopsy itself, first the doctor tried to do an aspiration of the cyst. The cyst was hard, actually a fibroadenoma. The doctor then took about 10 or so tissue samples around the cyst with a core needle. I never felt any pain, just pressure in the area. My results came back benign.

Please note, this will likely not be the last time you have to do this if you have cystic breasts. I just had an MRI on both breasts and awaiting results and visit with surgeon. At first I drove myself nuts with worry (this has been a summer long process of mammo, ultrasound, MRI, etc). Now I'm to a point where I know I'm in control of my thoughts and feelings and will handle whatever comes my way with knowledge and grace. This particular site has been wonderfully helpful. Read everything you can find. Knowledge is power!! I wish you all the best!
Avatar universal
Since you're talking about a biopsy for calcifications and a wire I'm guessing they're talking about a needle (wire) directed (or needle localized) biopsy. I had one a few years ago. They numb the appropriate area of your breast, put your breast in the mammogram machine and try to make you comfortable since you'll have a number a mammograms over a period of 30-60 min. as I remember. They had me sit. They don't use as much pressure as for a normal mammo. Then the radiologist inserted a wire into the tissue to locate the area for the surgeon to remove, taking another mammo every so often to make sure the wire is heading to the correct place. I had two wires inserted. Before you leave they snip the loose end of the wires and tape the ends to your skin. (The wires are really long and at first I thought I'd have them sticking out of my blouse when I left.) The procedure is kind of wierd, (wierd as in I felt like an alien with wires sticking out of me) but not bad. They took a ton of mammograms to get the wires inserted properly. I think they may have somehow marked the area with dye too, I can't remember. It wasn't bad and not painful. Then I went to the surgeon who numbed the area some more, made a small incision and removed the areas. It's amazing how small they made the incision. (one incision about 1" long to remove 2 areas) I sensed a lot of tugging and pulling but not in a way that hurt since I was numb. I was told the numbing medicine I was given tends to make people a little shaky and jittery which was true for me. I've had 3 biopsies and the scars are barely noticeable. I have some scar tissue I can feel, but my breasts don't seem smaller or deformed. (I have fairly small breasts also.) Because a needle directed biopsy involves two proceedures, it took about 2 hours (1 hour for each proceedure) plus a little waiting time in-between, but it's still not bad. I had my husband drive me the 3 blocks between the radiologists office for the first part, and the surgeons office for the surgery. Then you have your husband and family pamper you for the rest of the day while you put your feet up and watch TV or sleep. I can't emphasize enough that just because they sent you to a surgeon right away does NOT mean you have cancer. (Look at me, I've been sent immediately to a surgeon 3 times - all benign.) It just means they need to check out a suspicious area. Remember, most biopsies are benign. It sounds like you're meeting with your surgeon this week. Be sure to write down all your questions. They're usually great about making sure they answer questions. From experience I have found that radiologists tend to scare me half to death with their reports, but then my surgeon puts it in perspective and I feel much better after that apointment. Let us know how it goes.
Avatar universal
Can you all give me advice on what kind of questions I need to ask? My mind is still digesting all of this, as for the radiologist they have never spoken or contacted me about anything. I do have their reports, but I had the doctors office fax them to me. Thanks Montanagirl for calming me down on the biopsy part.
Avatar universal
mel, if it's any help here, I went through this  in 9/2003. my microcalcs were DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ)- if you are going to have BC, it's the one to have.
mine is in full remission-it had not spread and I only had surgery (mastectomy) and take pills for 5 years.

try to calm yourself. easier said than done. this is not a death sentence. There is a wonderful site www.breastcancer.org
that is informative and so helpful.
-sheila
Avatar universal
I just got thru the entire stage you are going thru in July.  Mine was DCIS in situ, hopefully you will turn out with no cancer.  The amount of pain involved in a biopsy I believe is related to how good your surgeon is.  Please please find a breast surgeon with years of experience.  My biopsy was with a breast surgeon (2 yrs experience) and I played softball 4 days later.  My lumpectomy surgery was with a different dr. (35 yrs experience) and I felt less pain with that if you can believe it.  My biopsy was about 1 hr in length total, face down on a special table where your breast goes thru a hole.  I am told it is fairly common but scarey as a first time biopsy person too.  A nurse calmed me and told me everything that was going to happen.  Most of the procedure is prep and mammogram type of things.  Measure, films, adjust, films, films, films.  The actual process of taking the biopsy is a 12 second process.  You are in a mammogram type of position (pressure) for about 30 minutes, that is the hardest part, they numb the area and you don't actually feel the biopsy, hope this helps.
Avatar universal
Under Forty Pam: I was not given a choice of a sugeon, the doctors office arranged that before calling me. I have been trying to find a breast specialist but have had no luck with that. I know I would feel more comfortable with one, there isn't any that I know of.
Avatar universal
My appointment Tuesday is to discuss the biopsy, thanks for giving me some good questions to ask him. I know this surgeon he repaired my hernia and he does have a good bedside manner. I'm just so worried, scared and nervous wreck and so on... I think it wouldn't have bothered me so much if it hadn't been so long since my last mammogram. I have always put my daughter as top priority and doing so I haven't kept up with my check-ups. Now I'm very scared about everything.
Avatar universal
You always have a choice, it is your body.  Try calling a few local hospitals in your area and ask for a referral for a breast surgeon specialist, they should know of some.  What part of Missouri are you in, perhaps a university hospital might have a choice too.
Avatar universal
I don't suppose you are very near St. Louis.  I found this place.  Washington University School of Medicine
Siteman Cancer Center - Clincal Cancer Center
600 South Euclid Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
Phone: 314-747-7222
Fax: 800-600-3606
Avatar universal
We live in the very Northern part of Missouri. Not many doctors around here. St. Louis is 5-6 hours away I travel there often because I take my daughter down there to Cardinal Glennon Childrens Hospital. St. Louis has very good doctors, it's just getting off work to go, I was just there a couple of weeks ago to take my daughter down. So if I would have known this then I could of seen someone, but as it turned out they called me when I got back from St. Louis. Kirksville is the nearest facility and there isn't no specialist there, just common doctors,we live in a very remote area and that is why everyone travels miles to doctors.

Melanie
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