Breast calcifications are small calcium deposits in breast tissue. They are very small spots and you can’t feel them with hand and you don’t feel any pain. Breast calcifications are usually benign (non cancerous) but dense breast calcification clusters may be an early sign of breast cancer. They can be detected by mammogram.
Breast calcifications types
- Macrocalcifications: these are found as white big dots, usually benign and don’t need to be monitored regularly with additional tests. They are found randomly scattered in breast tissue. They are usually found in women older than 50 and every one in 10 women under 50 years old.
- Microcalcifications: They are big as a salt crystal and benign. If they are found clustered they may be an early sign of breast cancer.
Causes of breast calcifications
- Pervious surgery in breast
- Previous injury in breast tissue
- Mastitis; breast tissue inflammation
- Blood vessel and skin calcifications
- Breast cysts
- Radiation therapy for cancer
- Breast cancer
- Older age than 50
- Genetic factors (BRCA genes) (See: BRCA gene test)
Monitoring the breast calcifications
Usually 6 months follow-up is recommended. New mammogram and the previous are compared. Radiologist checks the mammograms in terms of shape, size and number of the calcifications. Results are evaluated as benign (non cancerous) , probably benign and suspicious.
Breast calcification treatment
Benign breast calcifications: They are accepted as harmless and no treatment and follow-up is required
Probably benign breast calcifications: These type of calcifications have a low risk as 2% of being cancer. They are monitored by mammogram in every 6 months to determine any changes.
Suspicious breast calcifications: They can be benign and also an early sign of breast cancer.Your doctor may request a breast biopsy. A small breast tissue part is collected by a thin biopsy needle for tests. Tissue sample is tested in pathology lab. to find any cancerous cells. Doctor will choose the treatment method as surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy according to the test results.