Breast Calcification: An Early Cancer Symptom

Calcification refers to the phenomenon due to which the non-cellular material present in our body gets hardened. This hardening is caused due to deposit of calcium as well as other materials. Calcification can be caused due to several reasons. Often, the body is unable to get rid of excessive calcium through bones or excretion that takes place through bowel or kidney. This leads to deposition of calcium crystals in arteries (calcification of fibrous cap on atheroma), joints (osteoarthritis) and breast calcification (calcium deposits in soft tissues of breasts).

Breast calcification is also caused due to aesthetical enhancements or breast implants. Conventionally, a breast implant was performed by injection of fat into the breast tissues. However, it caused calcification which led to hardening of breast tissues.

Mammary ductal carcinoma, a kind of breast cancer is characterized by the presence of extremely small specks of calcium called microcalcifications. Although, it is not verified that calcium supplements are a cause for breast cancer, changing the quantity and type of calcium taken in the diet may reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.

Mammography remains the most efficient technique for early detection of breast cancer in women who are above 50 years of age. The technique helps in detection of suspicious areas of calcification, which is considered a common symptom of cancer. This is extremely useful because the presence of cancer can be detected even before a growth or tumor is felt by the woman herself. Moreover, many calcifications that are identified during mammography cannot be observed during an ultrasound.

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