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Breast Cancer

Breast calcifications -What should I do next?

07/07/2008

Question:

I just had a diagnostic mammogram and Ultrasound done on my left breast due to a cluster of calcifications they found. The radiologist said they look fine and to come back in 6 months for a follow up mammogram. I have not spoken to my Gyno yet and I know I need to get the radiology report and my Birad rating but I want to know if I can just get a surgical biopsy done to remove it. Why should I leave it there just to have it turn into cancer down the road? Is there a down-side to having it done? I am 40 with 3 kids. Only family history of breast cancer is an Aunt on my mom`s side. Can the calcifications come back after removal?

Answer:

My guess is that if the radiologist told you to come back in 6 mos, the calcifications are BI-RADS 3 or probably benign.  Biopsies are generally not recommended for this level of risk.  It is very unlikely that these represent cancer.  Even when calcifications look suspicious on mammogram (BI-RADS 4) and biopsy is recommended and performed, only 15% will show cancer.  When the calcifications look benign, the risk of cancer is much lower.  If you still would like a biopsy, you can certainly discuss this with your physicians.  Of course, there is nothing without risk, and in the case of probably benign calcifications, the risks associated with biopsy generally outweigh the benefits.

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Response by:

Doreen M Agnese, MD Doreen M Agnese, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery and Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University