Microcalcification Question

Kelly4 Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hello. I had a mammogram last week and the radiologist told me that I have microcalcifications that my doctor will need to watch closely. He also told me to come back in six months for another mammogram. I've been told that I probably shouldn't wait six months because microcalcifications are sometimes a precursor to cancer. Does anyone know what the chances are of these calcifications turning into breast cancer? I'm not sure if I should wait six months or more like two or three. Any ideas? Thanks very much.


  • cabbott
    cabbott Member Posts: 1,039 Member
    Your question is one I had about five years ago. I had had a call-back complete with an ultrasound because of a cyst that suddenly appeared. I took the time to talk to the radiologist about my films to find out just how worried I should be. She assured me that the ultrasound had showed the cyst to be fluid-filled and not likely to be cancer. As long as I was there, I asked her to see if there was anything else to be concerned about. She noted a little tiny white speck near the middle of my breast that she said was a microcalcification. I spotted another one over to the side. She said explained that microcalcifications are little bits of calcium that sometimes form for varying reasons. The kind that are in a teacup-like pattern were the kind suspicious for cancer because they tend to form near fast growing tissue (like cancer). I did not have that kind as mine were solitary specks a few inches apart, but she mentioned that she would like me to come back 6 months later for another mammogram to check on the cyst and calcifications again. She noted that sometimes a bit of ductal carcinoma can block a duct causing a cyst to suddenly appear, however she doubted that I had cancer. She promised to keep a close eye on the microcalcifications. IF anything changed, she would ask for a biopsy. Heaven only knows what changed (the report said the cyst was normal) and why she asked for a biopsy six months later, but it turned out both of those very normal looking bits of calcium were sitting next to two tiny bits of invasive ductal carcinoma, that is, cancer. I won't go into the details, but I lucked out because not one radiologist since has agreed that the spots should have been biopsied even though both turned up positive for the nasty stuff. Because it was found so early and turned out to be ER+, I was able to skip chemo and just do hormone control. Will your calcifications be sitting next to a problem? You will have to wait and see. Of course if you find a noticeable lump on a breast exam between now and then you would want to go in earlier than 6 months. But it normally takes time for a spot too small to feel to grow. If there is stuff growing, more or bigger calcifications may appear signalling the doctors to go for a biopsy. But if they are not changing, then chances are nothing is growing in that spot that is worrisome. Cancer in the breast does not usually present a threat to a woman's health. Only when cancer leaves the breast and starts setting up camp elsewhere does it usually become life threatening. Radiologists tend to be overcautious rather than lazy about these matters so please don't stay up nights worrying. Some cancers double only every 210 days and nothing will show up after six months even, certainly not after 2 or 3 months. Going to check things too frequently ignores how fast cancer usually grows and exposes you to more radiation than needed for decision-making. There are also different kinds of calcifications. One of my friends has macrocalcifications that developed in her breast because she has arthritis of the breast. Macrocalcifications do not signal cancer at all. As the name suggests, they are bigger than the microcalcifications. She found out by going for a second opinion at a leading breast center at a teaching university hospital. They told her to forget surgery after the local doc wanted to give her a mastectomy. So if you are nervous and have the time, go for a second opinion with the best breast clinic you can get too. They will probably tell you to wait as well unless the microcalcifications are in a pattern that is highly suspicious for cancer. Otherwise, wait 6 months as you have been asked and see if anything changes. And if things are crazy bad then and your doctor suggests surgery (esp. if the surgery is a mastectomy), post your questions and concerns here and I will urge you to get a second opinion then.
  • seof
    seof Member Posts: 819 Member
    As usual, cabbot has provided and excellent answer. Sometimes I wish she could be the spokesperson for my Oncologist...very knowledgable, not always such a good teacher for those of us who aren't. That's OK, just takes more questions for it all to sink in to my brain.

    I will pray that your 6 month check-up will show "all clear". seof.
  • grandmagail
    grandmagail Member Posts: 28
    Wow...cabbot...you are one knowledgeable girl! I agree with seoff...you have a way of putting things that make them so understandable. I'm going to print that off and give it to my daughter-in-law. She has discovered another lump which is probably a cyst...but you never know. Good luck to you Kelly, and God bless.