Confused And Scared Breast Calcifications

Question

Asked by Justice

Confused And Scared Breast Calcifications

I was informed 2 wks ago I had a abnormal mammogram. I then had a imaging mammogram (to get a larger picture/view) of the abnormalities. After the doctor /radiologist reviewed my new film, she informed me on that day I have some calicafications which appear to be microcalcifications and they would need to schedule me for a biopsy to determine if it is Benign or "C"! I'm told that i will have clips input into my breast where they remove the tissue. And not quite understanding why the clips in my breast and why would they stay in my breast? Wouldn't I feel those clips as pain? After reading other people questions, I'm really even more concerned. Should I have had a ultrasound or MRI before going into a biopsy? What other procedures can be done to determine if the biopsy is needed? Also, i don't know if it's all in my head but I'm really feeling a stinging like burning sensation in my breast. I can recall of having similiar symptons years ago, but it went away. I was drinking alot energy drinks w/caffeine, so I did eventually stop driniking does. Could that be a cause or reason for the calicifications? Help! Much confusion and totally scared. !

Answer

Hi Justice - Microcalcifications, when they appear in a cluster, can be a kind of "shadow" of breast cancer. They're not actually cancer themselves, but can signal that cancer is growing. I'm assuming those microcalcifications in your breast (which weren't caused by you drinking energy drinks - don't worry) have formed enough of a cluster that the doctor wants a biopsy to check out the area where they're located. Apparently what the radiologist sees is suspicious enough that they want to act now, without waiting to see if a visible or palpable lump develops.

They put clips in your breast to guide the needle the radiologist will use to take the tissue sample. Clips are very visible on the ultrasound s/he'll probably be following as a guide, more visible than the microcalcifications themselves; they want to get to the exact area with that needle. As to why they remain in afterwards -; oftentimes they're left so that, if you do have cancer (yes, it's OK to write the word! It's much more treatable than it used to be), the surgeon excising the tumor knows exactly where it is. The clips can then be removed during surgery.

Do the clips hurt? It's a very rare side effect; some people feel they have an allergic reaction to the titanium they're made of. But it's VERY rare, so please don't stress too much about that.

The stinging/burning is probably "in your head" - as well as in your breast. You're feeling it, but it might be a sensation brought on by your fears; the mind-body connection is real, as is the power of suggestion.

Bottom line, and the thought I'll leave you with: about 85% of biopsies are fine - no cancer. So the stats are definitely on your side. And even if you do have cancer, there are millions of us survivors out here - the vast majority of us undergo treatment, and resume our normal lives.

Sorry you're having to go through this, but hopefully you'll be in the large group of women who have negative biopsies and NO cancer. Good luck - PJH

Answered by PJ Hamel