Sometimes calcifications indicate breast cancer, such as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), but most calcifications result from noncancerous (benign) conditions.
Possible causes of breast calcifications include:
- Breast cancer
- Breast cysts
- Cell secretions or debris
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
- Mammary duct ectasia
- Previous injury or surgery to the breast (fat necrosis)
- Previous radiation therapy for cancer
- Skin (dermal) or blood vessel (vascular) calcification
Products that contain radiopaque materials or metals, such as deodorants, creams or powders, may mimic calcifications on a mammogram, making it more difficult to interpret whether the calcifications are due to benign or cancerous changes. Because of this, skin products of any kind should not be worn during a mammogram.
April 28, 2021
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
- Ikeda DM, et al., eds. Mammographic analysis of breast calcifications. In: Breast Imaging: The Requisites. 3rd. ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2018. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 17, 2018.
- What does the doctor look for on a mammogram? American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/mammograms/what-does-the-doctor-look-for-on-a-mammogram.html. Accessed Dec. 17, 2018.
- Esserman LJ, et al. Diagnostic evaluation of women with suspected breast cancer. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Dec. 17, 2018.
- Mammograms: What to know before you go. American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/mammograms/mammograms-what-to-know-before-you-go.html. Accessed Dec. 17, 2018.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 14, 2019.
- Joe BN, et al. Breast biopsy. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Dec. 17, 2018.