Microcalcifications-should I wait for a biopsy?

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elsiemartha
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 4/5/2005 7:00 AM (GMT -6)   
I recently had a mammogram which came back with a macrocalcification in my left breast and microcalcifications in my right breast.  There is no history of breast cancer in my family, but I had a carcinoma insitu of the endometrium when I was 27 (I am 54 now).
 
My doctor wants to wait 6 months and then do another mammogram.  I'm not particularly nervous about it, but am seeking some reassurance that this is the wise thing to do.
 
Does anyone out there know what the percentage is of microcalcifications indicating cancer is?  I know that about 50% of all breast cancers show up as microcalcifications, but what percentage of microcalcifications actually indicate cancer?

gma
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   Posted 4/5/2005 7:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Oh Gees why don't these doctors realize what they do to us with this waiting stuff? As I understand it, the clustering of microcalcifications is the indication of cancer. If there are clusters why would anyone suggest you wait for six months? I just had a mammogram and then had a diagnostic mammogram, so I looked at my films a lot the past two weeks. I hardly had any white spots which indicate microcalcifications. I had a couple smeary looking white areas. The one they were focusing on was there last year and comparing the films they were trying to see if it changed. They decided not. I reminded the radiologist I had breast cancer, my daughter and an aunt also did and I would not mind a biopsy. He said it was not necessary and to come back in one YEAR not six months.

How about another opinion? Can you take your films to another doctor and have another opinion? I would offer to have a biopsy if I were you. That is the only real way to tell if there is cancer, not playing guessing games. I believe there is a connection with uterine cancer and breast cancer. If there is, I would think you would want to be sure.

Hugs of welcome, Mary K (MK)


Tavish
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   Posted 4/5/2005 9:03 AM (GMT -6)   
I agree with MK....I would consider a 2nd opinion. You can take the films to a breast clinic and get their opinion. If they say waiting for 6 months is recommended, you can ask them why... ask them what signs point to the direction of being benign? For example, are the size and shape indicators? In other words, try to get them to identify why they are comfortable waiting. It may be ok to wait, not everyone needs to be biopsied, but we want the docs to be sure.

Welcome to our internet space!
Lori


elsiemartha
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Date Joined Apr 2005
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   Posted 4/5/2005 9:10 AM (GMT -6)   
I may do that...get a second opinion.  But what I was initially wondering about is...what are other causes of microcalcifications?  What percentage of microcalcifations do NOT indicate cancer?

Luci
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   Posted 4/5/2005 9:48 AM (GMT -6)   

The TYPE of microcalcifications is what usually indicates the presence of breast cancer.  I had microcalcifications at the time of my DX.

I'm for a second opinion now, not in 6 mos.  Please remember that it's you, not the techs or drs. who will have to go through treatment if there is BC present. I know this sounds harsh and probably a little bit scary too, but I'm on your side.  Get that second opinion.  We'll all be here urging you on.  You are your best health advocate.  Hugs, Luci


In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer.  Albert Camus


MNlady13
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Date Joined Jul 2003
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   Posted 4/5/2005 10:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Why wait and worry for six months? I opt for answers sooner than later. Lauri
"Go confidently into the direction of your dreams. Live the life you always imagined" Thoreau
 
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.


cupycake2
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Date Joined Jul 2003
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   Posted 4/5/2005 8:43 PM (GMT -6)   
My vote is with the others, get that second opinion and not wait 6 months. I can't see you having to worry all of that time and wondering.

Hugs and welcome,
Debbie
^j^ ^j^
"What sweetness is left in life if you take away friendship? It is like robbing the world of the sun"
Cicero


Bluize
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 635
   Posted 4/6/2005 12:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I had a biopsy after microcalc.  It was standard operating procedure. I'm glad I did. The first one was just a stereotactic needle biopsy and then a surgical one.  Everything came back fine, but I am glad I did it.  Peace of mind.  I was scared but I knew it was better to know now than to wait and find out down the road I could have caught something early.  Get the 2nd op and make sure.  You want to sleep at night.  Good luck.

Susan


elsiemartha
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 8/10/2005 11:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Well, I decided to wait it out and I had my mammogram yesterday.  Won't get any results until sometime next week.  It was surprisingly difficult to wait the 6 months.  I'm not a worrier but my anxiety came out in my dreams.  I began sleepwalking...feeling like I was lost and couldn't find my way back to my bed.  I even ended up sleeping on the floor one night.  But the "waiting anxiety" is now gone and I am just anticipating the results.
 
One thing I did do during this waiting period is gather up all my previous radiology reports and have copies made.  I see that I have grouped calcifications in both breasts and two masses in the right, which was imaged yesterday.  I researched as much as I could on the subject and I feel ready to make any decisions that need to be made.  Hopefully next week I will be able to report good news.

gma
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Date Joined Jul 2003
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   Posted 8/11/2005 9:03 AM (GMT -6)   
I am sorry you had all the nightmares and sleep walking. A second opinion may have alleviated all of that, but now I am a little concerned because you also mention two masses in the right breast?????? Were they mentioned before. Just the other day another of our new members here learned after getting her old report copies that there was a questionable image on her mammogram two years ago that no one bothered to tell her about. If we can do nothing else on this board for new people with questions, we need to urge them to question the doctor's statements and decisions and if they are not totally satisfied, find another doctor who satisfies their questions. I hope your news is good. Please be sure and let us know. Hugs and prayers coming your way. Mary K.


wackygal
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Date Joined Jul 2003
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   Posted 8/11/2005 4:35 PM (GMT -6)   
They didn't even TELL me I had microcalcifications... they just said 'oh it's adipose tissue, nothing to worry about'.... 4.5 months later I had lotsa pain.... did a biopsy.... tumor. 4.5 cm. The surgeon doing the biopsy saw the original mammos and noted the microcalcifications as a 'red flag'. Wish someone had said something to me then. I lost 4.5 months, and i had 5 positive nodes. so you can guess what my recommendation is. biopsy.
hugs
stef
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"It's been worth everything I've been through,
 To do what I do"

                       To Do What I Do   -Alan Jackson, 2004


elsiemartha
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 8/12/2005 8:00 AM (GMT -6)   

Good luck to you.  I would be very angry if I were in your shoes and found out later that someone had not noticed those red flags.  I will be sure to let you all know what happens.  I was told yesterday that my films will be looked at by a team of breast specialists so I am not relying on just my doctor's opinion.  I feel a little more confident now about whatever their recommendation is.


wackygal
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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 857
   Posted 8/13/2005 7:01 PM (GMT -6)   
yes, i really felt the dr.s let me down... but the flip side is that i became a VERY proactive patient and read everything there was about my cancer and treatment plan, and that led me to receive much better treatment than i would otherwide have gotten. so i guess that's the good that came out of it!

good luck and let us know how it goes....
hugs
stefanie
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"It's been worth everything I've been through,
 To do what I do"

                       To Do What I Do   -Alan Jackson, 2004


debbiR
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Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 8/13/2005 7:42 PM (GMT -6)   

I am glad that you had the follow up mammo done. The thing that really concerns me is that you now have all of your reports and there evidently seems to be 2 masses that your physicians didn't bother to inform you about. I would strongly suggest that you question them about that specific report when you go to hear your results. Don't let them give you the "run around". As several of the other gals have said, you must become very proactive in your care. Sitting back and waiting can not only give you the nightmares that you had but be very detrimental to your health and beating this disease. Please get answers so that you will know what you need to do next. Remember, a 2nd and even 3rd opinion is usually warranted.

Deb


 


Brnadebt
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Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 688
   Posted 8/13/2005 10:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Elsie
 
Iaam the one that had a spot on my mammo 2 years ago and was never informed of it. I went in to have another spot checked out and it was just a cyst, but my paperwork noted the area of concern which just happens to be the tumor I just had taken out. If I would have known 2 years ago I probably could have saved myself alot of the pain Im going through. I had one out of three lymph nodes test positive and I have spots in my lungs and spleen that are questionable.
 
I agree about getting your medical records they tell you all of the picture not just part of it. Have your questions ready when you go in to an appointment. I have my records and my ct & pet scans I would never have known without them.
 
Welcome to our group you will find wonderful support aand friendship. It is much easier to talk to someone who is either going through it or has already. Any questions just ask us.
 
Hugs:)
Bernadette

elsiemartha
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 8/16/2005 10:27 AM (GMT -6)   
I just got back from my doctor's office. The mammo done last week showed an "increased prominence of a stellate nodule in the right breast". Not sure what that means except that I read that stellate masses often indicate cancer. Can anyone confirm that?

I am having a magnification view tomorrow and also an ultrasound. Will be seeing my Dr. next week when the results come back. I should note here that in the last year I switched doctors and this one is a real gem. She and her nurse practitioner are the best.

Anyway, can anyone shed some light on what a stellate mass is?

gma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 8/17/2005 11:33 AM (GMT -6)   
That is a new term to me. Did you try google? I always go there first when I am looking for information or medical questions. Then I try several sites that are listed til I find one I can understand. Glad you have a new doctor and PA that you like so much. That is important. I think you were not treated in your best interest with the other doctor. Hugs MK


babyseeester
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 8/17/2005 12:13 PM (GMT -6)   
I found a definition of Stellate.  It means shaped like a star.  That's not very helpful, though.
L & H,
Kathy


Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 8/17/2005 1:08 PM (GMT -6)   
And remember this test is not yet conclusive. Frayda recently had a scan of her lung that said highly suspicious for cancer and turned out to be an unrelated illness that is treatable. Absolutely, get it followed up, by try not to panic just yet....

Lori


JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 8/17/2005 4:08 PM (GMT -6)   

My path report mentioned "stellate mass". I believe this meant that it was "fingered" in shape. Hope results will be positive.

JUJU



elsiemartha
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 8/18/2005 9:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all the support. I am going out of town for a couple of days and won't have my next appt. with my Dr. until Tuesday morning.

elsiemartha
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 8/24/2005 1:14 PM (GMT -6)   
I had my appt. The magnified view showed that the mass is round and appears to be just a calcification. Two radiologists looked at it in the magnified view and both said it was not stellated/spiculated. I have an appt. with the surgeon on Sept. 27th. I suspect that she will tell me then that she can take it out or leave it in. I am inclined to have it removed just to be on the safe side.

Tavish
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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 8/24/2005 1:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Removal is a great idea, it is the best way to know for sure. The pain and discomfort is very minimal and very doable. I missed just the day of work for surgery and was back the next day. Breast was sore, but did not interfere with working for me.

Please keep us posted!
Lori


elsiemartha
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 8/24/2005 1:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Were you able to do it awake or did they have to put you out?
 
Did it leave a big indentation?  Idon't care really, just curious.

Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 8/24/2005 2:59 PM (GMT -6)   
They used a local anesthesia but put me under a twilight. I have no recollection after being wheeled into the OR and then waking up in recovery. I think it is pretty standard to use this for a lumpectomy. I was told not to drive that night but returning to work the next day was ok. As long as I did not apply pressure to the breast, I had no pain. Cosmetically, it will depend on where the lump is and how big and what tissue comes out with it. I had a lumpectomy twice, and since it was cancer, they took a lot of tissue out. The second time was to clear a margin, but I am much smaller on that side now (too bad, I was smaller on that side to start!). I notice that it is flatter on the outer side too, but I am ok with it.

To just remove a lump that is benign, I would think would leave a great cosmetic result. Good luck!
Lori

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