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Breast Cancer

Calcification in breast

02/08/2008

Question:

Had a mammogram in Nov. 2007, was notified to come back for a second mammogram Jan. 2008, due to breast calcifications. Second mammogram had same views performed, was told to come back in 6 months. Should I be worried that I did not have a biopsy done at this time? Is it typical to go get a second opinion? I read that this being the first time noticed and only being in one breast, for this to be more of a pre-cancerous condition. Could this develop fast over the next 6 months? How does calcium deposits turn into a form of cancer? Will I always have this or will it eventually disappear?

Answer:

Most breast calcifications are benign.  They do not disappear.  If you were scheduled for a follow-up mammogram in 6 months, then the Radiologist believes that these calcifications are benign.  Under these circumstances, the radiologist is correct 98-99.5% of the time.  You need the 6 month mammogram to detect if there is any change in the calcifications.  If there is a change, then you would be scheduled for a biopsy at that time.  Usually any growth is slow.

The radiologists are occasionally wrong and find out that the calcifications are due to cancer.  This occurs only 0.5-2% of the time. 

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Response by:

Jean T Stevenson, MD, FACS Jean T Stevenson, MD, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University