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Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Bilateral nodules and calcifications
I am a 38 yr. old woman with a mother who had breast cancer 5 years ago. I just had my first mammo and the nurse called saying that they found bilateral nodules and calcifications and to come back in 6 mos. What causes these nodules and calcifications? Considering I have a family history of breast and other cancers, should I be doing something else besides waiting? Is there a chance this could be cancer and I need a biopsy? Thanks
The findings on your mammogram can be benign or malignant. Based on the info you have provided, the Radiologist feels that they are most likely benign. The chance that the radiologist is wrong and that the problem is actually cancer is 0.5 to 2% - that is why you were asked to return for a mammogram in 6 months instead of a year. Biopsy would be recommended if there was a change on the next mammogram.
You haven't provided enough information about your mother to fully assess your risk. The fact that she had breast cancer increases your risk for the disease especially if your mother was premenopausal or less than 50 at the time of diagnosis. If so, you and your mother should consider genetic counseling/testing.
Jean T Stevenson, MD, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University