Calcifications on mammograms
Calcifications are very commonly seen on a
Most calcifications are not a sign of cancer. Other causes of calcifications on a mammogram include:
- Calcium deposits in the arteries inside your breasts
- History of breast infection
- Noncancerous (benign) breast lumps or cysts
- Past injury to the breast tissue
- Powders, deoderants, or ointments that are placed on the skin
Large rounded calcifications (macrocalcifications) are common in women over age 50. They appear as small white dots on the mammogram. They are not thought to be related to cancer, and only rarely need more testing.
Microcalcifications are tiny calcium specks seen on a mammogram. Most of the time, they are not a sign of cancer, but they can be cancerous.
When microcalcifications are seen on a mammogram, the doctor (a radiologist) may ask for a magnified view so the calcifications can be seen more closely.
Calcifications that are not thought to be suspicious or worrisome will be watched with a follow-up mammogram. This type of calcification may be called benign or probably benign.
Calcifications that are irregular in size or shape, or are tightly clustered together are called suspicious calcifications. If they appear suspicious, your health care provider will recommend a
Most patients who have suspicious calcifications do not have cancer.
Review Date: 01/24/2011
Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, General Surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.