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 (fluid-filled sacs in breast tissue that are usually benign)
- Cell secretions or debris
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
- Fibroadenoma (a solid, benign mass most common in young women)
- 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.
Jan. 11, 2018
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
- What mammograms show: Calcifications, cysts, fibroadenomas. Breastcancer.org. http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/mammograms/mamm_show. Accessed Dec. 9, 2015.
- Mammograms and other breast imaging tests. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/healthy/findcancerearly/examandtestdescriptions/mammogramsandotherbreastimagingprocedures/mammograms-and-other-breast-imaging-procedures-toc. Accessed Dec. 9, 2015.
- Esserman LJ, et al. Diagnostic evaluation of women with suspected breast cancer. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 9, 2015.
- Lai KC, et al. Linear breast calcifications. American Journal of Roentgenology. 2012;199:W151.
- Demetri-Lewis A, et al. Breast calcifications: The focal group. American Journal of Roentgenology. 2012;198:W325.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 14, 2015.