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Cluster cells? Cluster cells?

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Unread 04-22-2005, 12:24 PM
Cluster cells?

I'm just going to copy and paste my post from another board, but am hoping someone may have an answer for me here.

My maternal grandmother had BC that spread and ultimately took her life. I don't know exactly how old she was, but I believe it was before she was 50 (or not too long after) as I was about 3 yrs. old. My maternal aunt had BC on two different occasions. She, thankfully, beat it both times. Again, not sure of her exact age but she was in her early 30's. I am 28 yrs. old and have fibrocystic breasts, so it's difficult for me to check for lumps as I always seem to have them. Recently I had one in each breast that stayed (rather than going away) and so I went to my gen practioner. With my history, she didn't want to mess around so she ordered a mammogram and u/s.

Yesterday I went in for my tests, had the u/s first; the tech seemed to focus on the areas where I had felt the lumps, and went very fast over the rest of my breasts. She then went and got the radiologist who ONLY focused on the areas that I pointed out and said she did see some "cell clusters" that were "probably benign but warranted being watched...or biopsied." The radiologist did not check out any other areas of my breast and afterwards I was somewhat surprised...kinda felt like she may have missed more "cell clusters" or anything else that might have thrown up a red flag. I felt like I was blown off somewhat. And the last time that happened a nurse practioner ignored the problems I was having until I finally bugged her enough to order me an u/s--which revealed that I had adenomyosis--but at the time the OB/GYN thought it was a very large fibroid tumor. Had I listened to her, I'd still be having problems and the adeno may have spread, therefore making my hyster more difficult. I digress--but this is where I get a tad more sensitive about feeling like a health professional could have missed something.

I left a message for my doctor today as I'd like to discuss the findings and also how I felt--that the rest of my breasts weren't checked too well. But, as we all know, waiting for the doc to call is never fun. So has anyone had experiences w/"cell clusters" on an u/s?
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Unread 04-22-2005, 02:12 PM
Cluster cells?

Did you have a mammogram? I would think that the mammogram would be done before the US. My experience has been that US is used to further check / confirm what is seen on mammograms. A complete check / viewing of the breast is not done with US. In reading the US, sometimes the radiologist can be quite certain of what s/he is seeing -- though only with a biopsy do you know with absolute certainty.

Were the "cell clusters" microcalcification clusters? I had a suspicious microcalcification cluster (SMC) which was watched for five years with semi-annual mammograms before being biopsied resulting in a DCIS diagnosis. When another SMC was discovered on mammograms, in viewing that via US the radiologist was 99% sure it was a benign fibroadenoma. That was confirmed with a biopsy.

You do need to be extra vigilant having some breast cancer in your family. Good luck.

Mary D.
Unread 04-22-2005, 03:11 PM
Cluster cells?

I had some microcalcifications once, which are clusters of cells, I believe. They did another shot of that area, with more magnification. I had a needle biopsy and a lumpectomy. Mine was pre-cancerous. I'm glad I had it removed, because there are all types of cancer in my mom's family, especially breast. Mom had lumps removed all along through her life, as well as D&C's. That's why I think she never got those cancers. She kept up with her appointments. But, she did get renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer). It was pretty bad. she is ten years later, at 75, alive and no cancer.

I'm going to stay on top of everything I can in order to find any cancers early. That's the best I can do. Early is good.

I'd look around for a really good doc who specializes in breasts. I went to a breast surgeon who only does breasts, and she was great. Now, I go to Duke for all my medical problems. They are great too. Glad I took my cancer there. They got rid of it!
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Unread 04-22-2005, 05:02 PM
Cluster cells?

I was scheduled to have a mammo after the u/s. But the radiologist cancelled it saying my tissue was too dense because of my age. I thought it was strange as my doctor specifically wanted a baseline mammo, yet I was so relieved to be getting out of there w/plenty of time to spare to pick up my kids from school.

I didn't even think to ask about microcalcifications (which I learned about when I had a job developing xrays & mammos). She just called it a cell cluster and you could see it on the u/s. Looked like an embryo. At least they took a picture of and measured it.

Currently I am playing phone tag w/my doctors nurse. She's it.
Unread 04-22-2005, 07:44 PM
Cluster cells?

I've never heard of a cluster of cells. The microcalcification cluster is actually a cluster of specks of calcium. Depending on the shape of cluster, it may or may not be labeled "suspicious". If the radiologist labels it "suspicious", then it indicates something about which to be concerned. I've had a suspicious cluster in each breast. After biopsies, the cluster in the left did result in a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ. A biopsy of the tumor (indicated by the cluster) on the right side turned out to be a benign fibroadenoma. Yippeeeeee !!

There are also MACROcalcification clusters. The specks of calcium in the cluster are larger than in the micro clusters. Macros are no cause for concern. (Though, as always, there can be exceptions.)

Mary D.

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