Learn the latest about preventing and treating this all-too-common diagnosis
A: Calcium deposits, otherwise known as breast calcifications, are common and can have a number of causes, including previous injuries to your breast tissue, past infections or just normal aging. (Calcium in your diet does not cause breast calcifications.) They appear as white spots or flecks on a mammogram, and while they're usually nothing to worry about, certain patterns of calcifications, such as tight clusters with irregular shapes, can be an early sign of breast cancer. If yours look suspicious, you'll likely have a needle biopsy, in which a doctor uses a needle to remove tissue from the suspicious spot; the tissue is then examined under a microscope to see if there are cancer cells. The good news is that 80 percent of the time the biopsy will be negative, meaning the calcifications are benign (not cancerous).
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