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#2 on the way
Calcium deposits on mammogram?
I have a lump in my breast which my doctor thinks is a blocked milk duct. I had a mammogram done & a breast ultrasound this week so I don't have the results yet. I had the mammogram first & then the next day returned for the ultrasound. They told me they wanted to redo 2 of the mammogram pictures because there were calcium deposits in the pictures. They think it's cause I was wearing deoderant (I've never had one so I didn't know I wasn't supposed to wear deoderant). I'm a little worried though because I researched on the net & it said calcium deposits can be a sign of breast cancer. Not sure what to think!!! Has something similiar happened to you?

Shrunken Fro™ Time out!
Back in 2004 I had my first mamogram at age 43. I didn't take it serious in that there was NOBODY in my family that cancer.

They did the mamogram and saw something suspicious and called me back to get another one that was a little more extensive. There were calcium deposits all over the place and they wanted to remove them.

I remember it being around Thanksgiving and the Dr. doing the bioposy told me that there is a 30% chance that it's cancer. Well, me thinking that it would have to be impossible for anything to go wrong, I knew I'd come out of this okay.

I hate to tell you this part but the bioposy was very painful. There was a nurse there just to hold my hand and keep my calm. I never cry because of pain but this time I did. It turned out that they removed 29 of these deposits. They checked it out and I was cancer free but the bad thing is because it was so painful, I decided I didn't want to go for another mamogram again which was really stupid. I felt that just getting my yearly physical was enough for me. I wasn't even doing self exams.

3 years later after losing a bit of weight, I was told by co-workers that it looked like my breasts were getting smaller. We had a good laugh but the next morning when I woke up and looked in the mirror I thought "yeah, they are getting smaller and what is this here"?

Under my arm looked a bit weird. Time to go get that mamogram I kept putting off! In calling up the Dr. to get a referral for one, I was told that since I found something I had to see a Dr. In doing a examination he found a lump. Not the one that I originally had seen which he said was nothing but a lump near my nipple that I had never knew was there.

Immediately I was referred to a surgeon. I'm not going to go into anymore detail about that but needless to say, when another mamogram was done those calcium deposit were there (probably growing all along) and the lump was cancerous and there were all these masses.

I had to have a mastectomy on my left breast diagosed eventually with third stage cancer. I even had to have my nodes removed.

I can't say for you that yours will be cancer. I don't even know if the calcium had anything to do with it but I think it tells you something. Deal with the pain of getting them taken out and make sure you have that mamogram done every year along with monthly self exams.

I kind of feel that in neglecting those things, that's why I had cancer.

Oh, and I stopped wearing anti-persperant too.

I wish that there was a way that I could keep in contact with you to see how everything went and be support for you if you had anymore questions.

Good luck and God Bless.


There are two types of breast calcification, macrocalcification and microcalcification.

Deposits of calcium in the tissues. Calcification in the breast can be seen on a mammogram, but cannot be detected by touch. There are two types of breast calcification, macrocalcification and microcalcification. Macrocalcifications are large deposits and are usually not related to cancer. Microcalcifications are specks of calcium that may be found in an area of rapidly dividing cells. Many microcalcifications clustered together may be a sign of cancer.

Scroll down for the section on breast calcifications and mammograms.


good luck

I am sorry that Shruken Fro had such a terrible experience, but there are times I wish people people would try to refrain from scaring the crap out of other people.

First off, almost every single woman has at least one calcification which can be seen on a mammogram. By far, the majority of those are benign. One in ten women who have a mammogram are called back for either more mammographic studies or an ultrasound. Of those, about 15% need further testing (such as a biopsy). Of those women, about 85% of the biopsy results turn out benign. Those really are very good odds.

There are many things, other than cancer, that can cause microcalcifications.....

"Microcalcifications will show up on a mammogram as tiny white flecks in the tissue. Many times these are not cancer; however, in some instances they are associated with very early cancer ( ductal carcimona in situ). Consequently, they need to be investigated thoroughly."

So, look at it this way....if these do turn out to be malignant, you have found them very early! They have been found before a cancer has grown large enough for you to feel. The earlier a cancer is found, the better! And ductal carcinoma in situ has a VERY high cure rate when found early.

According to the following site, the 5 year survival rate of women who are diagnosed with Stage 0 ductal carcinoma is 100%!


Secondly, a needle core biopsy should not be painful. I have never heard of someone having 27 (or was it 29?) cores removed. The most I have seen taken are 10, and that was pushing it. We usually remove about 6 cores. So, this kinda makes me think of a woman who was in labor for 12 hours, but after retelling the story, it suddenly becomes 72 hours, because it is a better story. A core biopsy, done either by mammographic guidance (in the case of certain masses or microcalcifications) or ultrasound guidance are really very easy procedures. And they are highly accurate. Because the radiologist can see the area of interest (mass or calcification), he can get a very accurate sample of that exact area. In the case of ultrasound guided core biopsies, we can actually see the needle enter the mass or butt up against the calcification, so we know the samples are accurate. The pathologist receives only the area of interest, so the results are much more accurate than an open biopsy, where there is a large tissue sample. The pathologist cannot look at every single cell in a sample, so the less tissue, the more likely he will have accurate results. It is like finding a needle in a ball of yarn compared to a haystack!

A core biopsy is very cost effective. An open biopsy requires a hospital OR bill, an anesthesiologist bill and a surgeon bill. Considering only about 15% of all breast biopsies turn out to be cancer, an open biopsy can be very expensive.

A core biopsy does not leave a scar. And I am not just talking about aesthetics here. An open biopsy leaves an internal scar, which looks much like a breast cancer on mammographic films.

When doing a core biopsy, we numb the area that is being biopsied. We usually use Lidocaine, like your dentist. You know how that stings for the first 5 or so seconds that it is introduced. After that, there should not be pain. And, other than the occasional drama queen, I have not heard patients complain about pain. I have assisted the radiologist in many of these procedures (if I had to come up with a number, a conservative number would be 500 procedures). Post procedure, you are able to get back to your normal lifestyle. We ask patients to take it easy the rest of the day (ie, no vacuuming or lifting weights), but after that, there are no restrictions.

All this biopsy talk is probably for nothing....but if they do request a biopsy, I strongly suggest looking into a needle core biopsy. If they want to get a sample of the microcalcification, research "stereotactic" or "stereotaxis" breast biopsy. If they want to biopsy the lump you feel, reseach "ultrasound guided breast core biopsy." It is definately the way I would go, if I were faced with a biopsy. Best wishes to you!

Please read this site....it probably explains things much better than I ever could!


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