I am 38 years old. My first mammogram was last year. I had to go back for more pictures for a closer look. It was determined I had microcalcifications on left breast and when I met with the doctor on these findings she said... there were a lot of them which is a little concering. But they were round and had a benign apprearance. She said no concern. Case closed and see you next year.
Well... here we are next year. Had the mammogram done, again, had to go again for a closer look on the same breast where the microcalcifications are. Met with a different doctor (in the same place). He told me there were a patch of them on top left breast that looked concerning. He can't categorize them as benign or malignant-looking and so had to put them in the undetermined bin. He said "If you were my daughter or wife, I would want you to get a biopsy". He recommended a stereotactic biopsy with a needle, etc.
Then... I asked has the pictures/microcalcifacations spots changed since last year's pictures? He said not really. So I asked well then why wasn't this recommended last year to me? He said "different doctor, different opinion".
If it's breast cancer... wow... a whole year without having the biopsy done? That seems very odd! I was never alluded to look into the same findings? So now the agonizing waiting for the appt... and then the worst... the results.
I had a sterotactic biopsy in 2008 for microcalcifications. Calcifications are quite common in women but what determines if they need to be biopsied are their size, their appearance, are their borders regular or irregular, are they scattered or clustered, etc. In my case they were clustered tightly and my mammo's BIRAD rating was 4, meaning that it was highly suspicious. I had the procedure and it was benign, the calcifications were caused by tiny cysts that were not picked up on the mammogram. 80% of microcalcifications when biopsied are benign. I know how nervous and confused you must be, you're right, the waiting is terrible but please try not to panick. I have a very high instance of breast cancer in my family and have had several open and needle biopsies prior to the stereotactic one and so far all has come back good. Let us know how you make out.
Thank you LadyAbby for your response. I have to wait a day or two for my primary dr. to give me a referral to even get the biopsy done. Hard to wait. I guess my initial concern was maybe I could have done this last year and not have waited another whole year since the images didn't change on the mammogram. Last year's doctor didn't even bring up this biopsy option. Will keep you posted.
Last edited by sarasota2004; 02-18-2010 at 06:59 AM.
Just an FYI. From working in the medical field for 30 plus years and from my own personal experiences, you have every right to request another radiologist's opinion within the group or take your films to another facility for a second opinion if you're not comfortable with the results and recommendations that you're being given. The one thing that I've learned over the years and have stressed to others, we need to take charge of our health and not leave everything in the hands of others. If you're not sure of something, ask questions and if you don't get answers thant make sense to you, get another opinion. I hope this helps.
So glad to see your posts. I'm in the same boat and have the stereotactic scheduled next week. I have found other message boards that talk about how painful the procedure is and I'm scared. People seem to have a good experience or a terrible one. Has anyone had the procedure and can give feedback? Was thinking of asking my GP for something I could take prior.
As I have thought about it, it seems since the microcalcifications are so so small and can't be felt that this is the only way. The radiologist mentioned that he thought they would remove them all during the procedure. Still it is terrifying news. I have 2 sisters that have had BC. Trying not to think about it. Sitting in those waiting rooms is tough. My hat is off to all of you who have gone before. You just don't quite realize until it's you sitting in that chair in the waiting room... The other thing i learned is that you shouldn't take ibuprofen or aspirin prior to your diagnostic mammogram. If you do, you have to wait 5 days before they will schedule your biopsy. I had never heard of this. Wish the radiology group had mentioned it. All this waiting, I would rather know - but then life could change forever.... Thanks for listening!
I was very surprised at how comfortable I was when I had my stereotactic biopsy in 2008. They had me put a gown on and lay face down on a special table with the breast that needed the biopsy through a hole in the table. The dr. injected an anesthestic and I felt a little pinch from the needle. From then on, I felt nothing. She explained everything that she was doing. They use mammography to locate the cluster and shoot (not a good descriptive word) a marker into the breast. That marker is there permanently in the breast. There is a lot of noise from the machines. It almost sounds like a running vacuum cleaner but I felt no pain. I drove myself to and from the procedure. Had no discomfort after the anesthetic wore off. You will have a tiny scar, maybe a 1/2 inch where they went in. I hope this helps calm your fears. Good luck and keep us posted.
Last edited by ladyabby; 02-20-2010 at 02:07 PM.
Reason: wrong spelling
I was very surprised at how comfortable I was when I had my stereotactic biopsy in 2008. They had me put a gown on and lay face down on a special table with the breast that needed the biopsy through a hole in the table. The dr. injected an anesthestic and I felt a little pinch from the needle. From then on, I felt nothing. She explained everything that she was doing. They use mammography to locate the cluster and shoot (not a good descriptive word) a marker into the breast. That marker is there permanently in the breast. There is a lot of noise from the machines. It almost sounds like a running vacuum cleaner but I felt no pain. The whole procedure took about a half hour. I drove myself to and from the procedure. Had no discomfort after the anesthetic wore off. You will have a tiny scar, maybe a 1/2 inch where they went in. I hope this helps calm your fears. Good luck and keep us posted.
LadyAbby... I read your responses and how you wrote you have had several biopsies in the past... and I just want to say I admire you and your story... You seem to be on top of your entire overall health... the fact that there is BC history in your family, it seems like you are taking steps head on to make sure you are healthy. There are a lot of people that are too afraid to face this... and they don't follow through on issues and those could turn out bad. You seem to stay strong and investigate to conclusion and that is so brave. Your story is inspiring and just had to share that with you. My biopsy is next Wednesday and I am so hoping for the best outcome for myself and my family.
Thank you for your recent post. I am so glad that my experiences are helpful to someone else. Life is hard and sometimes very unfair but it helps keeping informed about health issues. I will be thinking about and praying for you next Wednesday.
Hi Sarasota2004 and LadyAbby. Thank you so much for your posts today. The stereotactic procedure was a piece of cake i'm happy to report. Virtually painless. Now just the wait til next Tuesday to hear the final result. Thanks so much for being there. Thinking of you now Sarasota with your day next Wednesday. Will keep checking in.
Well I have my results and am thankful that I don't have cancer!!! BUT I have Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia, which is not cancer but makes me 5 times more at risk for cancer and the radiologist is suggesting a surgical biopsy next to make sure all has been removed. When I read online, some people actually see an oncologist for it. So getting a little scared again. Will keep you posted. Does anyone have experience with ADH???
Still thinking of you this week Sarasota, I hope your appt this week goes well. Let us know.
Horray that your results came back as no cancer!!! As for the Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia, I have 2 friends who have that and they are monitored by a breast surgeon and have mammograms done every 6 months. Both have had this for years and so far they have been fine. Are you seeing a breast surgeon or a general surgeon? I always felt more comfortable with a breast surgeon because that's all they did. As far a having another biopsy done, I think I would speak your doctor about it and see what he says. Good luck and do keep us posted.