• Dr Peter Chew

Mammogram and microcalcifications

I am 50 years old with 2 grown up children. Recently my mammogram showed some microcalcifications. Though my family doctor assured me that the radiologist’s report indicated that they are non- cancerous, I am still very worried. What are microcalcifications? Any relationship with the calcium tablets I take?

Calcium deposits or calcifications in the breast are quite common among women over the age of 50. They are often due to changes in the breast tissues from aging, injury (e.g. previous surgery), or inflammation. They are too small for you to feel but will show up on mammogram. They have no relation to the calcium you take in your diet or supplements.

There are two types of calcifications

1. Macrocalcifications: These are large white dots and are oftentimes noncancerous.

2. Microcalcifications: These are fine, white specks which are usually noncancerous. But when they are irregular in size, shape, or tightly clustered, they may be a sign of breast cancer.

If calcifications are suspicious, further tests may be done, including an ultrasound examination, a magnified and compression view of the mammograms or a breast biopsy. You should also do self-examination of your breasts regularly. If you notice a lump or changes in the skin or nipple, please consult your doctor right away.

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