I didn't have them, but a friend of mine does. She is an 80+ woman and has to have mammograms about every 3 months to make sure they don't turn into anything else. They are not harmful, but are associated with a high risk for cancer.
I also have calcifications. As I understand the statistics, at least 80% of the time, calcifications are benign. Many, many women have calcifications in their breasts and these are normal. It's when the calcifications are grouped in a cluster or they change that there is more concern. Mine have been stable for the three years that I have been having mammograms. Generally I have a bilateral mammogram once a year, then 6 months later have a diagnostic mammogram (magnified views) on the side with calcifications.
I was told I had calcifications 6 months ago and was told to have another mammogram in 6 months. I went in last week for that mammo. The radiologist was there at the hospital when I had the mammo, and he ordered more pictures, then ordered an ultrasound. Of course they would not tell me anything, and had me a bit frantic. My family doctor called this morning and said I had calcifications and what the radiologist thinks is a cyst. My dr said these results warrant an MRI, so he is setting that up for me, getting insurance pre-determination. I have been reading the posts here for the last 6 months, and find that calcifications are very common. I have 2 sisters who have had breast cancer, and both of them have a daughter who had breast cancer.
I too had microcalcifications in my right breast (just 1 calcification cluster). At the age of 31, I told my Dr. that if it didn't belong there to remove it. I was lucky that the the microcalcification was benign. Not lucky that the surrounding tissue was cancerous. At 31, they diagnosed me with carcinoma insitu of the right breast. I went through another surgery to clear the margins, then I had 36 treatments of radiation, no chemo. I am now a 15 year survivor of breast cancer and still going strong. I believe I'm 100% cured of breast cancer.
Now I'm onto my next fight. For Christmas, I was diagnosed with Stage II rectal cancer. The doctors said that this cancer has nothing to do with my breast cancer episode. Go figure, I just have bad "Jeans".
Good luck. Remember, it's your decision!
I firmly believe if it doesn't belong there, get it out, so you don't have to worry.
I had breast calcifications in my right breast. At the follow-up, they took more pics. Then said to come back in 6 mos., which I did. From there, it didn't change much and maybe there were a few more. They did a biopsy, it came back benign. Thank goodness! Then they wanted to surgically remove some tissues of it, so I did have that done too. It came back benign and I did couple of dr.'s checkup after that just for him to check how I was healing, etc. Apparently, calcifications is not a lump of some kind - it's "powder" like so they couldn't tell me the size of them. But, it looks just like little white dots on the x-rays. And, there's nothing you can do to prevent them nor did you do anything to get them. After all this, I was told to come back for a mammo yearly. By the way, the surgical biopsy was easier than the first biopsy they did on me. If you're interested in knowing more, I can dig up my paperwork and repost it). It is definitely very important that you go for the follow-up and do what they advise!
I know it is scary whenever you hear they suspect something from your mammo! They gave me brochures on calcifications and it did say that about 98% of the cases are benign. So think positive and try not to worry!
Keep checking it out because they told me they were sure the microcalcifications on the right side of my right breast were nothing but they did a biopsy and turned out to be DCIS. Doc gave me the decision for taking some of the breast or a mastectomy. Since I am small breasted to begin with I opted for the mastectomy. Turns out I made the right decision as the whole breast was full of DCIS even though it did not show up on the mammogram. Too bad there is no testing that can be done like an ultrasound on the side the breast was removed so you could be sure nothing was going on. I had a 1 centimeter clear margin which isn't much but then because I do not have that much breast tissue to begin with I can't complain. So far I guess, so good. I am not on Tamoxifin as I am taking Raloxifin for osteoporosis so all I can do is pray. It will be 4 years in August.
Add another one to the club. Microcalcifications detected 6 months ago, just had re-check yesterday. Radiologist said there was one area that in comparison looks 'different'. So she will be talking to my gyne about her recommendations - but I think she feels stereotactic needle biopsy is the way to go. Interesting to read all of your experiences - thanks! I've also had a swelling maybe an inch in diameter in my armpit now for 6 months, which did not show anything on ultrasound. Sometimes my armpit feels 'funny' - bothersome - can't really explain it. Anyway, onward, one foot in front of the other. Still waiting to hear from my gyne.
That's it - I had the stereotactic needle biopsy done first too. It's pretty simple procedure but can be very uncomfortable because I had to lay on my stomach the whole time and was told not to move at all. After a while (about 45 mins), my neck started hurting (even tho they gave me a pillow). Things were benign with me. I later had a surgerical biopsy done where they removed some tissues to make double sure and that procedure was actually easier. I think it best to get a biopsy of your microcalcifications to be sure and I would make them check into the swelling of the armpits too.
The Following User Says Thank You to molly123 For This Useful Post: mia448 (11-07-2012)
Hello everyone. I'm back. Two weeks later. My doctor never called me. So I finally called him today. Okay, I've been busy, and did put it off, thinking, or not thinking, it was routine. He apologized, he was renovating his office, blah blah blah. How did he not get my report? ? ? ? Anyway, he said I should get a biopsy ASAP, get a consult with a breast surgeon. I started the dialing - figuring out what to do, who to go see. I did find somebody who can see me Monday. They said to go get my films and a copy of my report and bring them with me. And so I went and got them today. But, here's the kicker. The radiologist classified me as BIRADS (something like that) category 5 - highly suspicious of malignancy. She didn't tell me that when she talked to me on the day of the mammogram, and my doctor didn't say that today either. So here, I had to read this today, by myself, on the report. I also looked up what this category was, on the internet, and it said 90% of people with this category will have a malignancy. I read last night that Sheryl Crow was found to have calcifications on routine mammography and she had a biopsy the very same day! So I am quite blown away by this today. What are you going to do. Just going to have to take it day by day. And for the first time ever, my cable internet has gone out and they can't come and check it out for a week. The weather's been wacky, and here I am using dial-up on my work laptop, and I am frustrated beyond reason. I can't even do what I like to do - stuff myself with information and prepare. I guess this is supposed to an additional lesson in patience. Okay, they say God never gives your more than you can take. I'll need to keep remembering that. Anyway, thanks everyone for listening.