Breast calcifications are small areas of calcium in the breast. They do not cause any symptoms and you cannot feel them. They usually found during a routine breast x-ray (mammogram).
Calcifications are common and, in most cases, they are harmless. There are two types:
Macrocalcifications (benign coarse calcifications)
These areas of calcium look like big white dots or dashes on a mammogram.
Macrocalcifications are sometimes called benign coarse calcifications. They are a natural result of breast tissue ageing and they are harmless. They are not linked with cancer and they don't need any treatment or checking.
Macrocalcifications are found in about half of all women over the age of 50. They are found in about 1 in 10 (10%) women under the age of 50.
They may be caused by:
- calcium deposits in a cyst or in milk ducts as women get older
- previous injuries to the breast
Calcium in the diet does not cause calcifications.
These are tiny calcium deposits that show up as small white specks on a mammogram. They are usually found in an area of the breast where cells are being replaced more quickly than normal.
Microcalcifications are not usually due to cancer. But a group of them in one area of the breast (a cluster) may be a sign of pre-cancerous changes or early breast cancer.