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calcification question calcification question

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Unread 03-15-2007, 07:25 PM
calcification question

I am new here. Sorry this may be long. I had my TVH on 1/4/07. I left my ovaries. I have a very positive family history of breast cancer (both Grandmothers and my mother). Soon after surgery, I started with the night sweats, hot flashes and horrible vaginal burning , bladder issues (I do have IC), memory gone, dry skin, headaches and the list goes on and on. Against much reservation, I went on HRT. I started Premarin 0.3 mg on 3/1/07. Within a few days, I felt like a new woman!! On 3/6, I had my yearly mammo. That same day, I woke up at 3:30 a.m with a rapid heart rate. My DR took me off of the Premarin (I had an appt to see him on 3/14......yesterday) to see if it was that or something else going on. The heart rate thing never happened again. I again went down hill (horrible mod swings, hot flashes, depression, etc). I did some research and was going to request to try the vivelle patch when I saw my DR. At my appt., I was informed that the mammo came back with some calcification in the upper tail part of the right breast. The earliest I can have a diagnostic mammo along with a sono is 4/19!!!!!!! I am a nervous wreck (along with a ranging hormonal I guess my question is, what is calcification? I do have yearly mammo and my last clinical breast exam was in June 2006. I feel that I can't win right now. I am not on any HRT until we find out what is going on with the breast. Thanks for any info.
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Unread 03-16-2007, 12:23 AM
calcification question

Hi Try not to panic just yet. Most calcifications are benign. We all have them, some more than others. Calcifications are little calcium deposits that are formed where cells are dividing quickly. Since one thing that distinguishes cancer cells from other cells is that they tend to divide more rapidly, they can be an early warning sign of a cancer getting started. However, they also occur whenever the tissue is healing; for example, if you got bumped on the breast, or if you had a breast cyst that resolved.

What is the connection with HRT? Well, for some women, being on estrogen, and particularly unopposed estrogen (estrogen without progesterone to balance it), will tend to get what's called fibrocystic breast condition, which is aggravated by estrogen. Those cysts can sometimes be painful but not always. They are always benign. They do tend to leave calcifications behind when they resolve.

So, you'll have a diagnostic mammogram where they'll zoom in and look at those calcifications. A good radiologist can tell quite a lot from the configuration of the calcifications. Most likely they will say that they appear benign but they want to recheck you in six months. If that happens, don't worry... they are getting a good baseline now and will be watching for changes. No changes => that's a good thing.

The first time I got called in for a diagnostic mammogram for calcifications, the radiologist told me that about 15% of the patients who have mammograms at that facility get recalled every year. Then, when I was sent for a biopsy, they told me that about 15-20% of those calcifications end up looking just suspicious enough that a biopsy is recommended; then about 80-85% of those biopsies turn out benign. So, the odds are on your side.

Let us know how it goes, OK?


PS By the way, there are some great links with more information on calcifications and other benign breast conditions, as well as breast cancer diagnostics and treatments, over in our Resources directory in the Breast Health section.
Unread 03-16-2007, 08:52 AM
calcification question

As ((surferbabe)) says ... most calcifications are benign. I have quite a dense patch of calcification in my right breast (diagnosed 2002) and biopsies showed it to be totally benign.

I don't think you can ever feel calcifications ~ I think they are only ever found on routine mammograms or whilst testing for other things. I was told that, the older a lady gets, the more common it is.

So, definitely don't worry ... the odds are more than in your favour with this one! Take care.

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Unread 03-18-2007, 08:00 AM
calcification question

Thank you both for your replies. I feel much better. The hospital did move it up, so I go on 3/30. I decided (after MUCH pleading from my family) to go on the HRT again. I started the vivelle dot on Friday and I FEEL so much better.
Thanks you again.
Unread 03-18-2007, 09:55 PM
calcification question

I was diagnosed with calcifications in both breasts three years ago. The important thing is how they are "gathered", so to speak. The random calcifications are typically benign, however, in my case the clustered calcifications were a bit more suspicious. After core biopsies they did in fact show atypical ductal hyperplasia...not cancer, but not clean. You cannot feel calcifications, they are typically picked up on your films. While most are benign, it is still a good thing to get them checked.

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