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Microcalcifications in the Breast


I recently took a mammogram and was told by the evaluating doctor that he "thinks I have cancer", because of a new density area with microcalcifications that are in one small area (not scattered). He recommended that I take a biopsy, which I did 5 days ago. I am waiting for the results, and having a rough time of it. I wish he had just said there was something highly suspicious there that needed to have a biopsy. I think that would have been sufficient.

I have read on the internet that microcalcifications that are clustered, can be indicative of cancer. I was wondering what the percentage of my chances are that I will get a benign report. He said it was a small spot that can't be felt by a manual examination.

Thanks,
Diane1
42 Responses
Avatar universal
Dear Diane 1:  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
127512 tn?1193745816
I can't help you with the percentages. My doctor says he want use percentages either. I believe calcifications can also be associated with benign cyst. I would call for my results 5 days seems like a long time.
Avatar universal
A cluster of microcalcifications that the radilogist cannot interpret as either benign or malignant gets a BIRAD 4 rating, which means "suspicious, biopsy should be considered".  My surgeon advised me that 15% of these are found to be malignant--85% are benign. I was one of the unlucky ones, early, but wound up with a 2.4 size, making me Stage 2.  I would think you should have heard by now of your results.  Good luck!
25201 tn?1255584436
I believe the percentage for a BIRAD 4 is 25% to 50% may be something OTHER than benign. A biopsy of course is the only way to know for sure. The waiting isn't pleasant ..... too bad your physician gives news in such a blunt manner. Here's hoping for a negative finding in your case and that you don't have to wait much longer. If you get too anxious why not call the surgeon's office and ask?
Avatar universal
This was not my own physician. Both the mammogram and biopsy were done at a radiology center. The evaluating doctor was just the one there. The results were sent to the lab specified by my insurance company, and they are obviously not in a rush to get the results back to me. I didn't get a second opinion or deal with a surgeon yet because the evaluating doctor was so sure in his comments. My primary care physician just said to do the biopsy and get it over with. I don't like this waiting, and it is certainly not good for me. Once I can get past this experience, I would like to go to another place in the future to have my mammograms done, where the women are not treated as though they are on an assemply line.

Diane1
165308 tn?1323190145
Hang in there Diane.  A few years ago I had microcalcifications and had a long wait also.  I first went for the needle biopsy which proved negative but inconclusive because the calcifications were so deep inside my breast.  So two weeks later I had it surgically removed and then had to wait again for the biopsy results.  Thank goodness it was benign. Just keep telling yourself that 80% are benign and if there is anything it is small enough to take care of.  Best to you.  You will be in my prayers.
Avatar universal
I had my 3 month diagnostic mammogram yesterday. The tech showed it to the radiologist and he had them do magnifications. I had hoped for a follow-up ultrasound for my lumps but they said there's usually not enough change to warrent it until 6 months have passed. As I asked questions the techs showed me the cluster of calcs and both of them said they figured the radiologist would recommend a biopsy. Sure enough, my surgeon received the report already today; my calcifications have changed and I need the stereotactic. I'm scheduled for Oct. 26. Since it took them 11 days last time just to let me know I needed to come back for more views and this time only 1 day to notify the surgeon it makes me wonder if there is more concern, or if it's because of my letter of complaint after the last drawn out incident.

Even though I knew I'd probably be having a stereotactic this time I still had some tears to shed today. But I realize now that part of it is stress and part of it is lack of afirmation from my family and friends. A number of people knew I'd be going back for a mammogram and nobody asked me about it. (Two friends at school even knew I left early yesterday to go to my appointment.) It makes me feel like people don't become concerned until they hear it's cancer...it's not important until then, and my fears aren't valid. I guess that's why I follow this site so closely. I don't expect you gals to keep track of everyone's problems, but you are such a support. And, Ziggy, you remembered my 3 months was up and you are the only person that has EVER asked me about it. It meant a lot. Sorry this is so long, but I feel better already.
Avatar universal
Just wanted to follow up that I received the results of my biopsy this afternoon. The female doctor that called me said I have a "small cancer". I asked her to tell me the name of it and she said "Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma". It is 10 mil. or 1/2 inch. She told me to call my gynecologist and get the names of two breast surgeons. She told me that I should expect to have surgery (lumpectomy) followed by radiation treatments. During the biopsy, they left a marker there and they would be taking out the area around the marker.

Well, at least the tortured waiting period is over. I am still of the opinion that the first doctor that evaluated my sonogram and mammogram should have been more sparing with his words. The first shock was just devastating, and there was no need to do it that early. I will proceed with what I have to do now and hope for the best.

Thanks for all the info and words of encouragement.

Diane1
Avatar universal
I am glad you have your results, sorry for the diagnosis.  You  hang in there girl! We are all sending you our best wishes and yes, prayers.  I wish I could send you a hug by e-mail, please consider yourself hugged.  As my grandmother used to tell me when we lived several states apart, "put your right hand over your left shoulder.  Now put your left hand over your right shoulder and squeeze.  It doesn't feel quite the same, but you know the thought is there."  I am a grandmother now (at 50) so I will pass on some of her love to you.  LynneBrooke
127512 tn?1193745816
Diane1 - Sorry yours turned out to be invasive. It is almost like mine 0.09mm. Let us know how things go.

Montana Girl - unfortunately you have been waiting for this and you somehow knew you'd be having this biopsy. I have watched you struggle with your dicision to monitor yours and wait. I know you are not looking forward to the biopsy but a least you will know (again) what you are dealing with. You are much stronger than me, have more patients and apparently more nerves than I. I do hope things will come out positive for you.
165308 tn?1323190145
Dear Diane1, I am sorry about your results.  Please keep us posted as to what you need to do next.  You are in my prayers and thoughts.  Just take deep breaths and try to exhale.  Suzie-q
Avatar universal
just waiting for results of my ultrasound .. had a mammo week or so ago .. ive been looking online at calcifications.. i had peeked at the monitor when the tech was done and could see a couple of small areas where there seemed to be tiny grains of white .. i assume they are what are called clusters .. so ill wait for the Dr to call and let me know what they want to do ... my 1/2 sis and sis in law are both fighting breast cancer at the moment ... btw has anyone looked into different treatments besides the chemo and radiation ... im trying to be forewarned here lol ... i hope its all for not .. but you never know :)
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