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Breast Conditions


Calcifications or microcalcifications (small calcium deposits) are the smallest particles visible on a mammogram. Calcifications are a normal occurrence in breast tissues which can be associated with fibrocystic breast changes, injuries, or mastitis (infection). However some can also be an early sign of breast cancer. Because of this, radiologists closely study microcalcifications found on mammograms.

A finding that would point toward further evaluation would be the development of new clustering of microcalcifications. A radiologist would examine the shape and distribution of the calcifications and determine, for example, if they follow the path of a duct, a potential "red flag". Special follow-up magnification mammography views will be taken to give the radiologist the best possible diagnostic picture.

After close study, looking for the slightest suspicion of problems, the radiologist will make a recommendation regarding treatment. In low suspicion cases, the radiologist may recommend you to wait several months and re-examine the calcifications with mammography to see if there are any changes. When there is more uncertainty they may recommend a biopsy using stereotactic technique (guided by mammography), or surgical biopsy to evaluate the calcifications.

It is important to note that most calcifications found on mammography are not associated with cancer.

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ACR AwardLahey Outpatient Center, Danvers was designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.