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Topic: dense breasts

Forum: Not Diagnosed but Worried — Meet others worried about developing breast cancer for the first time.

Posted on: Aug 31, 2013 05:13AM

sandrak1 wrote:

Hi again. I noticed earlier this year my left nipple starting to retract especially when I bend over. I had a digital mammogram and ultrasound in April that were normal. I can feel some sort of lump of some kind deep in my breast. I had a gyno appt. yesterday and I let her try to feel it. She said she thinks she feels something deep that doesn't move but she's not sure. With that and the nipple changes she wants me to have another digital mammogram set for Tuesday. I was also informed I have dense breasts. My quesion is, what if the mammogram doesn't show anything? Should I let it go? I asked her since I have dense breasts should I have a mri. She told me she made the order for the mammogram with additional imaging if necessary, so that opens the door for any testing they feel necessary. If the lump I feel is deep in my chest wall, will the digital mammo show it? Thanks for any input!

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Aug 31, 2013 10:29AM Beesie wrote:

It's impossible to say what the mammo will or won't show. Every situation is different. You just have to have the mammo to find out.  And since your doctor ordered the mammo "with additional imaging if necessary", that would suggest that if the mammo doesn't show anything, you should at least be sent for an ultrasound. 

When you have the mammogram, you should ask to find out specifically what level of breast density you have.  Many women - in fact the majority of pre-menopausal women and even a large percent of post-menopausal women - have dense breast tissue.  It's usually those who have the highest level of density who may have concerns about how much the mammogram shows. 

Dx 9/15/05, DCIS-MI, 6cm+ Gr3 DCIS w/IDC microinvasion, Stage I, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- “No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke

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Aug 31, 2013 11:24AM jessica749 wrote:

Good for you for being self aware and checking into changes you notice and feel. I'd be very reassured by the negative u/s plus neg mammogram in April. You have not one, but two imaging confirmations.
That said, however, because you notice this retraction, and you and your Gyno (maybe) feel something - my personal opinion, seen thru the prism of my own "bad" experience, is: I'd be more reassured if I had an MRI also as it is the most sensitive screening tool of the three. I'm a worrying sort and I'm sure others will correct me if I'm wrong but whether its called "digital" or "diagnostic", mammograms miss a good 15-20% of cancers due to inherent limits (be it density or technology or what have you). I want you to know that even if you are rated "3" density, your mammogram can miss the cancer. That is what happened to me, and my density rating and mammogram screenings were done at a top cancer hospital. However, my tumor - once discovered via MRI - WAS visible on an ultrasound. Again, for you - nothing visible on the two images you've taken should reassure. But with what your feeling, I'd want more definitive info - via MRI or alternatively experienced breast doctor exam - someone who can be more knowledgeable about whether what your feeling there warrants concern as your Gyno is unsure.

You state that the order leaves the door open for additional testing "they" feel may be necessary.....who is "they"? Is it you and your Gyno after the results are in?

Dx 1/17/2010, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 1, 2013 05:18AM sandrak1 wrote:

Thanks for the replies. As far as who "they" are, to tell you the truth, I'm not sure. Since my gyno told me she put on the order additional imaging if necessary, I guess she was talking about the drs at the imaging center if they think I need more testing. I didn't know there were different levels of breast density. I will definitly ask how dense mine are. 

If I get my results Tuesday, I will post them. Thanks again!

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Sep 1, 2013 12:19PM Hoppie wrote:

Hi sandrak1. I'm having a very similar situation, my left nipple started retracting within the last year. I had a screening mammo in June, where they discovered I had extremely dense breasts. I was called back for a diagnostic mammo where they did an ultrasound right after. They found a very small lesion on the ultrasound and did a core needle biopsy right away. It wasn't bad at all as they numbed it first, you just feel a little pressure. My next step was a contrast mri, that wasn't bad either.

Unfortunately, I still don't know what is going on as my imaging did not match the pathology, so I'm scheduled for an excisional biopsy with wire localization this Thursday.

I'm hoping the best for you and if they need additional tests, They will let you know.

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Sep 1, 2013 12:32PM JennH8 wrote:

I would definitely say push for an ultrasound and/or MRI if nothing shows on mammogram. You are the best indicator of something abnormal in your own body, so make sure they keep going until you get an answer. My prayers are with you.

Dx 6/26/2013Dx ER+/PR-, HER2-Dx IDC, Stage I, Grade 3Surgery 08/27/2013 Mastectomy (Both); Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Chemotherapy 10/14/2013 Cytoxan, Taxotere
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Sep 2, 2013 05:24AM sandrak1 wrote:

Thank you all for your replies. If I find out the results tomorrow I will post them. I wish all the best for all of you!

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Sep 2, 2013 08:30AM crazyride43 wrote:

With dense breast tissue and anything even mildly suspicious, your docs should be able to get you approved for a screening MRI.  I also have very dense breast tissue and nothing showed up on mammogram.  It wasn't until I had the screening MRI (I had no symptoms or lumps, just dense breasts) that my 4cm tumor was discovered.  I don't say this to scare you - chances are you are totally fine!  However, having the MRI may put your mind at rest.

Dx 1/9/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 3, 2013 11:30AM sandrak1 wrote:

Well i just left the women's imaging center. The radialogist said nothing has changed from April. She also said they don't like doing mammograms unless it's been 6 months since the last one. I told her i was only doing what my Dr told me to do. She also said that nipple inversion sometimes occurs for no reason and if i had something making it invert i wouldn't have to dig so deep. She told me not to dig so deep trying to feel lumps because there was no need. They didn't do another ultrasound. So i guess my next mammo will be next April unless something changes.

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Sep 3, 2013 02:44PM Beesie wrote:

So did you have another mammogram then, even though the radiologist doesn't like doing them unless it's 6 months?

Make sure that you get a copy of the mammogram report.  See what it says, how it describes your breast tissue.  The BIRADs rating is also important.  And the report might also indicate the specific level of density which is likely to be either "heterogeneously dense", which is Category 3 density, or "extremely dense", which is Category 4 density.

Knowing what the report actually says will help you and your doctor determine if anything else needs to be done at this time or not.

Dx 9/15/05, DCIS-MI, 6cm+ Gr3 DCIS w/IDC microinvasion, Stage I, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- “No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke

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Sep 3, 2013 02:48PM sandrak1 wrote:

Yes, I had the mammogram and nothing changed since April. I didn't ask about the level of density today, although my gyno informed me last Friday I have dense breasts. And I will ask for a copy of my mammogram report. Thanks!