Dear Deb95NJ: 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
I am not a medical professional, but also have recurring calcifications. This last time they recurred after only 6 months. The surgeon wanted to do another stereotactic biopsy but his second recommendation was to have a 3 month follow-up mammogram. I chose the 3 month follow-up this time but must admit it hasn't been easy to wait. One lady at this site will tell you she had 7 benign biopsies, and the 8th was cancer, so this is definately something we need to follow-up on. We also know that calcifications are very hard to see and grade. (I assume yours is a Birad 4?) Radiologists more experienced with calcifications, such as those at breast centers, may be better able to determine if you really do need a biopsy. There aren't any breast centers close to me, so I'm very unpatiently waiting. You should get your question answered professionally on Monday.
Calcifications are normally found in breast tissue ...... it's how they appear that makes the difference. In clusters they definitely need to be investigated further. I too and wondering what BIRAD score was assigned to your exams.
I'm so glad I found this forum.
I've had mammograms every 6 months from 2003-2004. The last one was May 2004 and the calcification didn't appear to be a threat. Thinking everything is fine I skipped my mammos for the last 2 years. I just turned 47 and thought it was prudent to get checked again. So I did last Friday. I received a call this past Monday that they wanted additional films of my left breast. I went yesterday and was told/shown that I have 2 distinct round clusters that have grown. The radiologist called them suspicious and advised me that I need a surgical biopsy due to the fact that one cluster is immediately behind the bottom of my nipple. The other is about 2 inches above the nipple.
Needless to say I had a good crying spell last night and have been researching it since. I'm quite scared. According to what I read, I believe my film BIRAD is a catagory 4.
Deb95NJ - What a nightmare for you!
Will this be your first biopsy? These posts are helpful for me also, to see the importance of keeping a close watch on my calcifications. I hope all goes well. When are you scheduled?
I'm waiting for my family Doc to call me, discuss it and refer me to a breast surgeon. I should know next week. If I can go 2 yrs I can wait a week. Gives me time to think about things.
Good thing I put my assets in a trust in May.
I too had a cluster of microcalcifications show up on a follow-up mammogram. The radiologist suggested a stereotactic-guided biopsy. Well after reading all about microcalcificaitons in different breast cancer forums, I was scared to death. It seemed like everything I read indicated that the biopsy results were malignant. One answer from a reader did stick with me all this past week while I was waiting for my biopsy results--it was that most people don't take the time to let others know when their results are benign. So I promised that if my results were benign, I would take the time to write in and let others know that are waiting for their results to have faith in the statistics that most of the biopsies have benign results. And to also feel good about yourself that if for some reason the results show malignancy, that you have been proactive.
Another thing I realized this week while waiting for my biopsy results--share your worries with your friends, family, and God.
I didn't give thought to waiting for the biopsy results. The only people that know about biopsy is my husband (ex-hubby but still my best friend) and 2 female friends of mine. I've chosen not to tell my 2 grown boys or my folks until I know the results. My mother would worry sick, my father would say something like, "oh, it's a minor proceedure" and I just don't want my boys to worry. Until then the support of my wonderful Ex has been very comforting. We've grown close since we divorced in 1996. He's always been there for me and I see him quite often. He told me that WE'D get through this together. I'm hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. Keeping the faith has been rather difficult.
Thank you for your supporting words. I'll be sure to update you on the progress.
AzRobin and Margaritas, Feel free to share your worries here, because many of us have been there. I'll keep you both in my prayers. Keep us posted.
Waiting is the hardest part. I had a stereostatic biopsy in late sept, due to cluster of microcalcifications as well. Mine came back benign, Whoo hooo... they were inside of a benign duct inside of a fibroidadenoma.... however, i also have another fibroidadenoma and some discharge out of my nipple...which is what origionally prompted me to go in; the surgeon took some of the discharge and is microscoping it and i will know more this week.... if all is well i go back in 3 months for another sonogram... i guess my point to this is, i think that for many people, like myself, this is not just a "one time" thing, where everything is OK and forget about this...at least for me, this is going to require ongoing attention and tests... do not get discouraged..this is a good site and for me it helped to have people who understood... let us know how things go.
During my last mammo they found 4 microcalcifications deep within my left breast along my chest wall. they told me to wait 6 mo. and come back for another magnified mammo exam. the thing is my sis died of infiltrating ductal carcenoma she was only 56. i'm 55. i've asked for a copy of my films and have an appt with a surgeon next week. looking at them i can 3 in a row one on top of the other and the 4th one just to the left of the top one. the rpt said they had 'the appearance of being benign' and not enough for a cluster (5 being the amt they were looking for) with a bi-rad of 3. i'm leaning towards having a biopsy done to be sure since we don't know if my sis started out with micro calcifications (her breasts were too dense) and the yearly mammo didn't show anything until they felt a lump. her doctor said she could have had microcalcifications for years but the mammo didnt show it.
Well it sounds as if you will spend the next 6 months worrying, and those of us that have had abnormal mammograms know what waiting can do--it's the worst part. Even though I wasn't thrilled about having a biopsy, I'm so thankful I did. The results were benign, and now I can relax again. Even if the results show something malignant, I would have been thankful to find it early. I'll be thinking of you.
It sounds like getting a second opinion is a good option for you. Waiting 6 months is not unreasonable but if it's going to drive you nuts you're better off having a biopsy now.
I'm so glad your biopsy was benign. Thanks for sharing that with us.
Thank you all for your comments. I was unable to get a password last night, but read many comments from those going through this, and nurses. I appreciate the forum.
I was told in May I had calcifications, hadn't had a mamogram since '04, and that started it all. I was contacted by the hospital, told to come back in for magnified views. Then a surgeon called me, met with me, and a steriotactic biopsy was done the next day. It didn't get what they wanted, and now I have to get the surgical biopsy.
I have a BIRAD 4, with suspicious for malignancy on the radiologist's report. (My husband had a stroke 9 1/2 years ago is disabled from it, and he is terrified I will not be around. He told me that much, but can't bear to think about it further. So I am very glad there is this forum to "talk" to others on. I have left this with the Lord, but still don't want pain, and have fibromyalgia, so the pain is a real factor for me.
In any case, I see the new surgeon at a regional breast care center on Friday, and we go on from there. I have a dear friend who works in the lab there, so will have my biopsy cared for as quickly as possible, I believe. I could have had it done locally, but since they did two steriotactic ones the same day with the local general surgeon, and he did my husband's gall bladder (my what a scar he has!) I opted for a larger center, though I found out they use general surgeons as well.
God bless each of you. Lynne
I know it's scary to hear anything in your breast is suspicious for cancer. I've been that several times, too. But 50-75% of Birad 4 biopsies turn out benign. We need to be proactive and get these biopsies done, but it doesn't mean it is cancer. The other thing is that cancer does not necessarily mean death. It can mean miserable treatments, but it's amazing what women can put up with when they have to. Also, when the cancer is caught early, excisional biopsy and close monitoring are sometimes all that is needed. I think you will find a lot of support at this site, and most of the women speak from experience. I will keep you in my prayers, knowing that only the Lord can give us the peace and comfort we need to get through these problems.
My biopsy is Tuesday. I will go the surgical route rather than needle biopsy. Though I am scarred to do this, I am more scared not to. I have a granddaughter due on December 10. It's in God's hands now.
I hope your biopsy goes well and is without pain on Tuesday. I'll keep you in my prayers.
I'm very grateful for this forum. I have been reading it since last Tuesday when I found out I, too, have a cluster of calcifications. Birad 4. Having my biopsy, needle, tomorrow and am pretty anxious about this. I am 54 and this was my first mammogram. I see if all of you can go through it, so can I. I am afraid of the pain but, the results are what's getting to me. I know it's in God's hand now. You're all in my prayers. Any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Sorry you had to find this site but I am glad you did. Let us know when your biopsy is done. Hopefully yours will be benign. Waiting for the results will be the worst. Come back anytime you want to talk.
Thank you for responding. I am shaking so and trying to be strong and walk with grace. I only wish they knocked you out for this. I'm such a wimp!
Just got back and it wasn't too bad. Only thing is they found another cluster and they are going to wait and see what these results are. If it's "something", I will have a biopsy. I think that's what she said. I was kind of in a daze thanks to the xananx I took. Does any of this sound familiar? I'm pretty clueless. Thanks, again.
Hey, this is my 4th time through this and I still go nuts. After giving everyone else advice, guess what I forgot to ask the surgeon's office yesterday when they called? What my birad was. (Now I have to wait until Monday since I'll be out of town.) Anyway, you're allowed to be little out of it. You can always have your questions ready when they call you with your biopsy results. Glad your biopsy went ok. Hope your results turn out well.