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Breast Cancer

Pleomorphic Calcifications

09/16/2009

Question:

I am a breast cancer survivor; I had a mastectomy of my right breast in April 2008, with Stage IIb cancer. I had 16 rounds of chemo and was also on Herceptin. I am now on Tamoxifen for five years. According to my oncologist, they got all the cancer, and he said it`s pretty unlikely that the cancer would come back.

Having said all that, I had a mammography of my left breast on August 31, which came back as Bi-Rads 4, with diffuse pleomorphic calcifications, with no evidence of a spiculated mass. My question is: what is the likelihood that these calcs. are cancerous? I know that diffuse usually means benign, but that pleomorphic can be cancerous. Also, since I`ve been on so many drugs, I can`t believe that any cancer would still be in my body. I have a stereotactic biopsy scheduled just to make sure, but was wondering what you think. (my oncologist said he thought everything would turn out normal). Thanks in advance for your reply.

Answer:

When mammograms are classified as BI-RADS 4, there is about an 85% chance that they will be benign.  There is only about a 15% chance that a cancer would be identified.  Of course the stereotactic biopsy is the best way to know for sure.

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Response by:

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