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Breast Problems

Breast calcifications

​​​​Breast calcifications are tiny calcium deposits in the breast tissue. They are so tiny that you can't feel them and neither can your healthcare provider during a breast exam. They are seen on a mammogram.


Breast calcifications can develop in the breast:

  • from breast cysts
  • after an injury or infection in the breast
  • if you had previous breast surgery
  • when blood vessels age
  • from other non-cancerous (benign) growths in the breast, such as fibroadenomas
  • ​if a milk duct gets plugged or has been plugged in the past
  • if you have breast cancer​

Taking calcium pills doesn’t cause breast calcifications.


There are 2 types of breast calcifications. The type of breast calcification helps a radiologist (a doctor who does imaging tests) decide if you need more tests.

Microcalcifications are calcium deposits that look like tiny white specks on a mammogram. Rarely they are related to an early form of breast cancer.

Macrocalcifications are calcium deposits that look like single white dots on a mammogram. They are larger than microcalcifications. As you get older you are more likely to have macrocalcifications. Macrocalcifications are found in more than half of all women over 50 years of age and are usually not related to cancer. They may also develop after a breast injury.

If you have calcifications

If calcifications are found on your mammogram, your follow-up depends on the type, if there is a pattern, and how many you have.

If you have microcalcifications your follow-up may include:

  • another mammogram
  • a follow-up mammogram in 3 to 6 months
  • a breast biopsy

If you have macrocalcifications, the radiologist will compare your most recent mammograms to ones you've had in the past to make sure that the macrocalcifications haven't changed. If they haven't changed, you won't need any more tests. ​​

Current as of: August 16, 2023

Author: Women’s Health, Alberta Health Services