Monday, June 29, 2009

Microcalcifications and Early Signs of Breast Cancer

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Breast calcifications are calcium deposits inside breast tissue. They emerge as white spots or flecks on a mammogram and are typically so small that you couldn't feel them.

Breast calcifications are widespread in all women and are even more common after menopause. Though breast calcifications are typically noncancerous (benign), particular patterns of calcifications - like tight clusters with irregular shapes - might point to breast cancer.

The two major kinds of breast calcifications are:

- Macrocalcifications. They come out as large white dots or dashes on a mammogram. Macrocalcifications are nearly always noncancerous and need no additional follow-up.
- Microcalcifications. They come out as extremely fine white specks on a mammogram. Microcalcifications are typically noncancerous but could sometimes be a sign of cancer.

Where and How Often Do Calcifications come out?

- macrocalcifications show up in roughly 50 percent of women over 50, and 10 percent of women under 50 years of age
- macrocalcifications are typically not troublesome and won't need a biopsy
- 80 percent of microcalcifications are benign
- microcalcifications could assist identify ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

A microcalcification is an increase of calcium in one spot. They are widespread and most women will have a few on their mammogram at some point in time. The majority of them are benign. A good number of women do worry regarding them, though - maybe since they haven't been given a complete clarification of what they are.

When should you worry? First, don't be frightened if you have microcalcifications since the majority women DO have them at some point. The doctor will take a look to observe if they warrant additional examination.

This typically happens when the microcalcifications are new, clustered firmly together, and comes out when magnified to have unusual forms. Rather than spherical, they look similar to grains of salt with irregular edges. This could be an early sign of breast cancer, most frequently non-invasive ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS or stage 0 breast cancer).

Microcalcifications couldn't be experienced on clinical exam or your own breast self-exam. They do not harm. This is the value of mammography - it finds them long prior to they could move forward into an actual lump.

Most of the time, suspicious microcalcifications will be biopsied by means of a stereotactic method that enables the doctor to pin down their location and take away a sample consequently it could be examined by a pathologist. The intention of removing tissue by means of this method is not to get rid of all of the microcalcifications but to obtain a representative sampling accordingly a diagnosis could be completed.

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