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Topic: micro calcifications

Forum: Not Diagnosed but Worried — Meet others worried about developing breast cancer for the first time.

Posted on: Mar 23, 2007 06:58PM

annie43 wrote:

Can anyone explain these to me. What does it mean for them to be clustered? I have several flecks, according to mammo results, inside of this pacman shaped thing. The lump is deep and can't be felt, but showed up on mammo...but nothing was found on US. They looked like three tiny circles that, if connnected, would form a triangle.

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Mar 23, 2007 07:12PM smalj wrote:

Annie43,

It was described to me that microcalcifications look like as if you were to throw rock salt on a blacktop driveway and they would "cluster and fall" in several places. They usually don't show up on a sonogram but as I've read do line the ducts of the breast so they appear to be scattered but they can be running through one duct that may branch out to several parts of the breast. Dr. Susan Love's book is very descriptive in explaining this and I'd much rather you get a hold of that book and read her expert explanation than mine.
Good luck with your research. Hope I could be of some help.
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Mar 23, 2007 07:21PM Annie62 wrote:

From one annie to another-
80% of microcalcs turn out to be not cancer. That said, they can be a sign of cancer (actually dead cancer cells). My cancer was discovered via a small clump of microcalcs. I've heard that more than 8 in a cluster is more suspicious than less than 8. Also, the year after treatment, I had more microcalcs and they ended up being benign. Smalj's advice to read Dr. Love's book is a good one. Also there are some threads on this site dealing with microcalcs.

Are they doing a biopsy? If not, ask them why. If yes, please let us know how everything works out. Hoping for everything to be B9.

Stage IV 8/2012 Bone, liver, pleural mets. Xgeva, Doxil. Past chemos - Gemzar, Navelbine, Xeloda, Faslodex Orig Dx 11/2004 Stage IIIc IDC 11/19 nodes AC and Taxotere. Tamox, Aromasin, Recurrence 2011 Abraxane and Gemzar , ER+/PR+ Her2- BRCA-

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Mar 24, 2007 02:19PM Beesie wrote:

Annie,
I would advise against reading Dr. Love's book. While it is informative, it's very detailed and presents worst-case scenerios, so it tends to unnecessarily frighten many women who read it.

Calcifications are very common and are usually benign, although microcalcs, clustered and particularly in a linear formation, might indicate a early stage breast cancer. Calcifications are extremely tiny, and are usually found via a mammogram. Calcifications do not show up on ultrasounds (that's why your US didn't pick them up) or MRIs. Often calcifications can be identified as being benign just from the mammogram; if there is any uncertainty, then a biopsy is ordered. But having a biopsy doesn't mean that your calcifications are cancerous; it just means that it's not clear whether they are benign or not just from the mammogram alone. Has your doctor suggested a biopsy for you, or is he/she satisfied that your calcifications appear benign on the mammogram?

Here are a couple of sites with good information about calcifications:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/breast-cancer/AN00049

http://breastcancer.about.com/od/mammograms/p/calcifications.htm

Dx 9/15/05, DCIS-MI, 6cm+ Gr3 DCIS w/IDC microinvasion, Stage I, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- “No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke

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Mar 24, 2007 03:19PM annie43 wrote:

Thank you all so much for your thoughts. This web site is amazing and everyone here is wonderful. My doctor has ordered a biopsy, it will be done on the 30th. Like many here until then I am waiting on pins and needles. Since the biopsy is a combination of my worst fears, needles, heights and cancer...I'm feeling VERY anxious, but hopefully that the results will be OK. Again, thanks for everyone's support.

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Mar 24, 2007 07:53PM Gulfwater wrote:

Annie, I'd agree with everything Beesie said about microcalcification clusters -- including her comments about Dr. Susan Love's book. They're very common and nothing to necessarily worry about.

DCIS / stage 0 dx 11/18/02; lumpectomy 12/02/02; radiation 1-2/03; tamoxifen 1/13/03 - 1/12/08

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Mar 24, 2007 09:54PM Adnerb wrote:

Annie,

Good luck on your biopsy, and take care.

Brenda S.

Dx 7/2005, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Dx 7/28/2009, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, HER2-Dx 9/16/2013, IDC, Stage IV, 0/0 nodes, mets
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Mar 25, 2007 03:57AM leaf wrote:

I know its a very scary process, even if your chances for bad news are small.

Even if they are something abnormal, Dr. Love says if they're tiny and tightly clustered and there aren't a whole lot of them, then they're more likely to be precancer. If they're all over the place then they're more likely to be benign.

Precancer has to fit into the duct, which is very small. The big chunks we see in mammos can't possibly fit into ducts so we know they are benign.

Thinking of you as you await your biopsy. Some women have found meditation-type things help. I was too upset for that, but it works well for some women.

If you're going through hell, keep going-Winston Churchill

Dx 12/8/2005, LCIS, Stage 0, ER+/PR-Hormonal Therapy 07/15/2006 Tamoxifen
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Mar 25, 2007 08:14AM annie43 wrote:

I have tried meditation, it works on some days. I do alot of positive thinking, that helps on some days too. This website and the terrific people have helped the most! What a great support system, it helps you get through the waiting! Like others say it's the waiting that is hardest. I'll let everyone know how it turns out.

Thanks for the positive thoughts!
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Mar 25, 2007 08:19AM Debstr wrote:

Just a few months ago I had a biopsy done for two clusters of microcalcifications. The waiting part was the worst of all and really did a number on me emotionally. I agree with the several of the posts above that most things you read give you worst case scenario as well you will not find many posts from women that have not been diagnosed with BC on sites such as these. So I thought it important that I let you know that in my case everything turned out to be fine. Just hang in there because the odds are with you.

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Mar 25, 2007 09:31AM leaf wrote:

Quote:

I agree with the several of the posts above that most things you read give you worst case scenario as well you will not find many posts from women that have not been diagnosed with BC on sites such as these.

You are so right, Debstr. You can get a distorted view from taking a poll of the diagnoses of the people on this board.
80% of biopsies in the US are benign.

I've had 3 biopsies (2 for calcs) and 1 excision in the last 14 months, and still have a benign diagnosis (One was LCIS + features of ALH - a misnomer - so I'm at high risk only. Don't expect this for you - its unusual.)

If you're going through hell, keep going-Winston Churchill

Dx 12/8/2005, LCIS, Stage 0, ER+/PR-Hormonal Therapy 07/15/2006 Tamoxifen