Several pathologies can affect a woman’s breasts. Some are benign while others are malignant. To detect some of them, such as breast microcalcification, examinations must be performed. A biopsy is often recommended to make sure it is cancer or not. What is breast microcalcification? What causes it? When should a biopsy be performed? What are the possible treatments? Zoom in this article on the essential to know of the microcalcification.
What is breast microcalcification?
Microcalcifications are tiny calcified spots that are less than 1 mm in size. They are different from macrocalcifications, which are benign and larger in size. Microcalcifications are similar to small white spots in the breast gland. In fact, they can be discovered during a screening mammogram or during an exploration of an abnormality in the breast. At this level, they can be :
- A nipple discharge;
- The appearance of a ball in the breast or redness;
- A deformation of the breast;
- A retraction of the nipple;
According to the figures, 30% of mammograms detect microcalcifications. In 80 to 90% of cases, these are benign lesions. Although this is the case, it is always advisable to consult a doctor for a complete diagnosis.
What can cause a breast calcification?
Macrocalcifications usually appear after the age of 50. They are due to stagnant cellular debris. They can also be due to cellular hypersecretion of calcium. As for microcalcification, its causes are diverse. It can be due to :
- Inflammations in the ducts of the breast or in the breast tissue;
- Occlusion of the milk ducts in the breast;
- Scarring of the breast tissue;
- Malignant or benign tumors.
A diagnosis made by health care professionals allows for a definite diagnosis of microcalcification.
Diagnosis of breast calcifications: when should a biopsy be performed?
It is important to know that calcifications are not usually detected by any symptoms . In order to notice their presence, a control or screening mammogram should be performed, depending on the case. It should be noted that a complementary examination such as MRI does not provide any additional information. However, in some cases, a biopsy may be necessary to eliminate any risk of cancer. Unlike macrocalcifications, which do not require clinical follow-up, microcalcifications do. The radiologist studies their number and shape in detail. Based on this information, the health professional classifies them according to :
- Breast density;
- The degree of suspicion of their pathological aspect;
- The ACR BI-ADS classification.
After screening, it is advisable to take appropriate measures.
What are the treatment measures for calcifications?
First, it is important to know if the calcifications are related to a form of cancer. In this regard, it is recommended to avoid active conclusions of an early screening. The reason is simply that many microcalcifications will not develop into a cancerous tumor. However, they will receive treatment as such. In fact, it is necessary to be sure that a microcalcification is properly analyzed and biopsied before any treatment is started.
In addition, although many calcifications do not require treatment, it is important to keep in mind that they should be monitored. When they are related to a cancerous tumor, surgical, radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment is recommended.