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Breast calcifications

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With advancement in age, some women might get deposits of calcium inside the soft tissues of breasts which are medically termed as calcifications. They get detected under mammogram studies.


Types and symptoms of breast calcifications

Microcalcifications- They are tiny white “specks” of calcium. If they occur in cluster then they might indicate cancer.

Macrocalcifications – They are common and appear as large white dots scattered randomly in breasts tissues, which are non-cancerous.


Causes of breasts calcifications

At the outset, it should be clear that taking calcium supplements or eating calcium rich foods does not cause breast calcification. It can result from several factors like previous incidence of trauma, from medical conditions like breasts cysts, fibroadenoma and lumps, fat necrosis, infection in breast tissues, complications in the milk duct, calcifications in blood vessels, etc. 

Macrocalcifications mostly occur with age and are more common in women above 50 years of age.


When to see a doctor?

Since there are no visible changes in your breasts or your health, they get diagnosed only during your routine mammogram tests.

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Complications of breast calcification

If cancer has been found from microcalcification then it is known as a non-invasive breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS),


Diagnosis of breast calcification

As said before, both mirco and macro calcifications can get detected in mammogram studies. Since macro calcifications are non cancerous, they don’t need further diagnosis. However, your doctor would advise further rounds of mammography if the calcifications are micro type in order to rule out their probability of being cancerous or benign.


Treatment of breast calcification

Depending upon mammography reports, the breasts calcifications (micro) will be classified under the following categories

Benign- harmless, no treatment required

Probably benign calcifications- In most cases they do not become cancerous in the future. So your doctor will monitor them every six months. If no threat is found, then treatment is not required, except you might have to undergo mammogram once a year.

Suspicious calcifications-
This condition could get complicated. If there are signs of cancer then your doctor would recommend biopsy to remove the cancerous cells.

The biopsy could be a core needle biopsy or surgical biopsy. The latter is done under anaesthesia to remove the tissue. The removed tissue will be further evaluated in laboratory to investigate the breast cancer 

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: June 16, 2014

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