I had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. Do I still need to have regular mammograms?
Most women who have had a bilateral mastectomy no longer need to have annual mammograms. Unless the margins were close, positive, or there seems to be a lot of tissue left, most doctors would recommend that a woman have a clinical exam by a medical provider every six months or once a year, depending on the circumstances.
If you should feel something, you should tell your doctor about it right away. Your doctor will most likely recommend that you have an MRI or an ultrasound in order to evaluate what you have found.
My doctor saw microcalcifications on my mammogram. What does that mean?
On a mammogram, tiny specks of calcium that look like pieces of dust may show up on the film. Microcalcifications, as we call these specks, are usually the result of normal wear and tear on your breasts, but it is estimated that 20% of the time they’re an indication of invasive cancer or of the pre-cancer ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). If the film shows only a few very tiny specks arranged in tight clusters, then it’s more likely to be something wrong that can fit into the tiny ducts. If the specks are scattered and larger in size, they’re more likely to be benign and harmless.
When radiologists see microcalcifications on a mammogram, they categorize them as “benign,” “suspicious for cancer,” or “can’t tell.” The benign ones can be left alone, the suspicious ones need to be biopsied, and the “can’t tell” ones can be followed or biopsied. If the radiologist thinks a microcalcification is benign but isn’t sure, you will be asked to come back in six months for another mammogram. If the radiologists is unsure but concerned, a woman will be told to have a biopsy.