I’m always amazed at how some of the words or phrases that I use in Wiping The Crazy Off My Face sometimes rank in the top 3 of a Google search. What a world.
Today, I thought I’d use the power of Google for good and offer some facts and resources about what is really taking up all my brain power anyway.
(UPDATE: If you’d like to find out exactly what happened to me…from how I found them, to what the doctor’s told me, to what the biopsy was like, visit the website I created just for that purpose and I’ll share with you. Sometimes a personal story can be comforting.)
Microcalcification are tiny flecks of calcium that look like grains of salt on a mammogram. (BreastCancer.org)When my doctor showed me my breasts in the mammogram results, I thought they looked like tiny glowing grains of sand scattered around inside both my breasts.
They are so tiny, they can’t be felt in an exam. Mine were discovered in a routine mammogram. Microcalcifications can sometimes indicate the presence of an early breast cancer. A cluster of these very small specks of calcium may mean that cancer is present. (BreastCancer.org)
CancerBacup says this: About 4 out of 10 breast cancers contain clusters of microcalcification. Microcalcification is even more common in the precancerous condition of ductal carcinoma in of the breast (DCIS) where it is seen in about three quarters of all cases.
In mammograms used for screening for breast cancer microcalcification may be the first sign that a cancer is present, with clusters of calcium specks showing up even though there is no lump to feel and no tumour showing on the mammogram film.
Microcalcification does also occur with a number of completely benign, non-cancerous, breast conditions including fibroadenomas and papillomas. Very often the specialists can tell from the shape and pattern of the calcium specks whether or not there is likely to be a cancer present.
If there is any uncertainty as to whether the microcalcification is due to cancer, or precancerous DCIS, then your doctors will almost certainly arrange a biopsy to get a definite answer. This involves taking a tiny piece of breast tissue and is usually done with a needle and a local anaesthetic in an outpatient clinic. (This is where I’m headed next.)
Here are some personal stories from two women who have had microcalcification discovered in their mammograms.
I hope this collection of info helps another woman whose mammogram finds clusters of microcalcifications.