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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer

01/29/2008

Question:

I had a mammogram last year and received a letter that everything was fine, return in a year. Three months later I recieved another letter stating that I needed an ultrasound. I went for another mammogram and they found microcalcification in my left breast and 2 nodules in my left breast, one deep in my chest wall. I`m scheduled for an ultrasound guided biopsy, although the doctor believes the one nodule is too deep in my chest wall to reach this way and that I will have to see a breast surgeon for another biopsy. She also found 2 cysts that she says not to worry about. What are the chances that these nodules or calcifications are cancerous. I am 45 years old.

Answer:

It is very difficult to distinguish between benign and malignant calcification with complete certainty on a mammogram. In general terms, microcalcifications are a more ominous sign for underlying early malignancy. There are some findings seen on the mammogram which will help the radiologist ascertain the probability of the lesion being malignant. But from the details given in your note it is hard to make a comment. I would say though mammograms are not very good in differentiating benign and malignant lesions and you need a biopsy to be certain about the nature of these lesions.

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Response by:

Bhuvaneswari  Ramaswamy, MD Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy, MD
Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University