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Can cancer lumps suddenly appear overnight?

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cgood75
cgood75 Member Posts: 5

Yesterday morning I was showering as I always do & when I washed underneath my left breast I felt a small (tip of index finger size), hard, painful when pressed on lump. I have very large breasts, I just turned 39 and have two children. This hard lump was not there the day before yesterday. It suddenly appeared within a day. There are no other symptoms, just the lump. I've had hard lumps in the past on both breasts --- one similar to this one but on right breast in same location that went away on its own but got bigger and more painful and then surfaced.

Can cancer lumps suddenly appear overnight?

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  • melissadallas
    melissadallas Member Posts: 929
    edited February 2014
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    yes, but it is much more likely that non-cancerous ones would. Age 39 is prime perimenopausal territory when hormones start changing again and fibrocystic stuff kicks up.

  • juneping
    juneping Member Posts: 634
    edited February 2014
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    i felt mine showed up over night but all doctors told me it's been there and i didn't notice. 

    but the most important thing for you to do is to check it out. hope it's b9

  • AZ85048
    AZ85048 Member Posts: 1,467
    edited February 2014
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    cgood75 - Try not to worry too much about it.  Really.  I started finding lumps when I was about 40 and I had developed fibrocystic breast disease - strictly hormonal and benign, but literally a pain.  They would show up one day and most would just eventually disappear in a few days / weeks.  I would have three or four or even a dozen lumps in each breast at any given time up until my BMX.  My diagnosis and surgery for bc had nothing to do with those cysts but now that I've gone through what I did, a big bonus was to get rid of the pain from those little suckers, believe me!  I think you should definitely get it checked out by a doctor, but because of your age, would suspect that it really is hormonal.  Wishing you the very best... and please let us know how it goes!

  • beesie.is.out-of-office
    beesie.is.out-of-office Member Posts: 1,435
    edited February 2014
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    Breast cancer tends to be slow growing.  So having a cancerous lump show up overnight is extremely unlikely.  But having a cyst show up overnight?  In my late 30s and early 40s, I had that happen more times than I can remember.  As the others have said, cysts are very common in women who are in peri-menopause, and cysts are harmless. Get it checked out, but don't worry. 

  • Srh242
    Srh242 Member Posts: 139
    edited February 2014
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    Can the cancer grow up faster if you are pregnant?

  • melissadallas
    melissadallas Member Posts: 929
    edited February 2014
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    Srh242, yes, pregnancy hormones can make breast cancer grow faster, but it has no bearing on what the original poster is asking.

  • Srh242
    Srh242 Member Posts: 139
    edited February 2014
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    Melissa: i asked because my lump appeared overnight too while pregnant, so I thought it was possible

  • melissadallas
    melissadallas Member Posts: 929
    edited February 2014
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    i'm so sorry you had to deal with cancer during a pregnancy.  

    Most of the time though "overnight" bumps really are benign cysts and such, but yes, occasionallyvery aggressive cancers do grow very quickly 

  • cgood75
    cgood75 Member Posts: 5
    edited February 2014
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    Hi,

    Good morning to all. The lump is still there. Deep under my skin under my left breast --- round and hard. Feels like a marble. Hurts when I press on it. I am not going to worry, like you guys said it could be a cyst and I have had those before. I am going to make an appointment with my doctor just to ease my mind and also if it is something then would want to know right away.

    Scary stuff.....

  • kicks
    kicks Member Posts: 319
    edited February 2014
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    It is possible for some BCs to literally present overnight.  (Mine did!).  It is true that the vast majority of BCs have been 'around' for some time - years often - but that is not true of IBC (Inflammatory Breast Cancer).  It is rapid and the most aggressive form and can literally present overnight.  The 'good part' is that it is RARE, being only between 1% and 5% of all types of BC.

    Get in to see your DR as there are so many possibilities as to what is going on now - cancer the least likely.

  • cgood75
    cgood75 Member Posts: 5
    edited February 2014
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    Thanks kicks. I've been hanging out lurking on this forum all morning .....reading everybody's stories. Some real positive people on here.

    Wouldn't IBC have other symptoms and not just a single hard lump at base of under breast --- truly at the base of my under breast? I don't have any other symptoms other than this thing that literally popped up over night. Round, hard, painful when touched. I'm about 1.5 weeks away from my next period so maybe it's hormonal.  I am going to get this thing checked --- so I don't worry about it.

  • Bad_At_Usernames
    Bad_At_Usernames Member Posts: 241
    edited February 2014
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    My cancer is Her2+ and Grade 3 which means aggressive. I really do believe it appeared overnight, as I practiced good "breast awareness"--I was constantly touching my boobs. One night I was getting changed and BOOM!

    So it's unlikely but possible. Best to get it checked out ASAP though so it's good you're doing that.

  • Bad_At_Usernames
    Bad_At_Usernames Member Posts: 241
    edited February 2014
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    Also, aggressive doesn't always mean "bad." Chemo targets fast-growing cells the best. That is IF it is cancer. Remember that something like 90% of lumps are benign.

  • cgood75
    cgood75 Member Posts: 5
    edited February 2014
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    Sorry to hear about your cancer Bad@UserNames ....

    Well shit, it's scary as hell finding a freaking lump. I'm not afraid of death or anything like that but after reading all the posts it seems like people go through years and years of treatments -- pokes, prods, surgeries, chemos, radiation...etc. & then some get healed and it comes back - that's the shit that scares me, the actual treatment. I have kids and a career like so many here and both are already so draining and demanding I couldn't imagine throwing in some health battle. I am just going to try and not worry myself until I have a doctor look check it out cause I have had boils, cysts etc on my boobs (in same spot just other breast) in the past that ended up surfacing and coming to a head. I don't want to panic but keep mentally sound until a doctor tells me it's time to panic.

  • Kelly321
    Kelly321 Member Posts: 2
    edited February 2014
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    I just wanted to say the thing has happened to me. Popped up one night did the pesky little things, I have three of them, I have been totally depressed since October and only now going to see my doctor next week, they are like little marbles that move when I touch them. I think they are cysts. 

  • cgood75
    cgood75 Member Posts: 5
    edited February 2014
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    My also feels like a marble but smaller (maybe)...hard to tell with it being under the skin. It's almost not even inside the breast...it is just after the curve where the bra wire sits. 

  • Kelly321
    Kelly321 Member Posts: 2
    edited February 2014
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    mine are bottom near the sternum. About 0.5 cms? Some days they feel firm and other days rock hard. I had a cyst in September and ultrasound, but it showed nothing. So I don't think a cancerous lump would have grown in one month, when I found them in October. If so at the growth rate in one month then I assume they would be massive right now. I hope your ok :-) and try not to worry about it 

  • Srh242
    Srh242 Member Posts: 139
    edited February 2014
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    any news?

  • ziggypop
    ziggypop Member Posts: 276
    edited February 2014
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    I'm not a doctor, so this is just based on what I have read and know. First, IBC presents differently than most other breast cancers - and it is rare - so for now let's put that aside. As far as lumps are concerned, it's important to remember how cells 'grow'. They grow by division (so a doubling of cells). So lets say you start with 4 cancer cellls - that becomes - 8, 16, 32, 64, 132, 264, etc. - from what I have heard, most (not all) double in size over the course of a month (and yes, pregnancy speeds up this processes). So you can imagine that a cancer 'mass' that is 1/2 the size of a marble and can likely not be felt and which has taken a very long time to get to that size, can double in size during a months time and be felt 'overnight'. I could, once I felt my 'lump', feel it grow during the two weeks that I waited for diagnosis. I could also feel it shrink when I had neoadjuvant chemo. 

    I will (surprisingly) question one thing Beesie said - because she is REALLY good at this stuff. As far as I know cancer grows quickly relative to 'other' cells. Now certainly this is different than say a cyst- where you can have something swell vastly overnight. The reason I say this is because chemo attack fast growing cells (or fast dividing cells if you will). This is why people lose their hair during chemo - because hair cells are fast dividing, our intestinal tracks can also suffer. And - the fastest growing hair falls out first, and the slowest growing last - sometimes not until chemo itself is over. 

    All that said - things that are round & marble like are most often cysts & I will keep my fingers crossed tight as can be that whatever you are feeling, it's benign. 

  • eileenj
    eileenj Member Posts: 10
    edited February 2014
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    I noticed some breast pain for about a week and reached into my bra and found a lump...turns out its 2 cysts side by side...it also hurts when I press on it...also...ultrasound found another cyst in the other breast which radiologist says has some debris inside of it...all are being aspirated on Tuesday...even though they call it a cyst isn't the aspiration of it a biopsy? In the past when I had other cysts aspirated they all collapsed and I was sent on my way...I'm praying for the same result....

  • eileenj
    eileenj Member Posts: 10
    edited February 2014
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    i just felt another lump in a different spot...same breast that I have pain in...I just had a mammo and ultrasound on Tuesday and they did not see this? This new lump is pretty big and hurts :'((((  

  • Trisha-Anne
    Trisha-Anne Member Posts: 1,661
    edited February 2014
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    My lump was in exactly the same spot - and I found it just by washing under my arms in the shower.  Thought to myself, this wasn't there yesterday, I'd have felt it!  It was painful to touch, but I think that's because I was poking and prodding at it so much lol.

    Hope you've found out what it might be by now.

    Trish

  • eileenj
    eileenj Member Posts: 10
    edited February 2014
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    Trisha, I just felt it just now and it was not there yesrerday when I had a mammo and ultrasound done....and my onc gave me a full breast exam :'(((  it was not there and it hurts ....

  • Srh242
    Srh242 Member Posts: 139
    edited February 2014
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    Great explanation ziggypop ! .Can you explain marble like?

  • beesie.is.out-of-office
    beesie.is.out-of-office Member Posts: 1,435
    edited February 2014
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    ziggypop, I think we may both be right.  I agree with you completely that relative to normal cells, cancer cells grow quickly.  But 'quickly' is a relative term. 

    This study found that on average it took 1.7 years for a breast cancer tumor to grow from 1cm in size to 2cm in size.  Of course there is variance.  Approx. 5% of tumors achieved this growth within less than 1.2 months, whereas another 5% took over 6 years to achieve this growth.  Breast cancer tumor growth estimated through mammography screening data

    The following research study found that "the median doubling time for invasive breast cancer is approximately 130 days" (considerably less than the 1.7 years from the previous study, but still more than 4 months).  They further found that the "the mean sojourn time is approximately 20 months", sojourn time being "the time that it takes the cancer to grow from a size at which it becomes detectable by screening to a size detectable clinically". Estimates of Breast Cancer Growth Rate and Sojourn Time from Screening Database Information

    Based on this, it is unlikely (but not impossible, of course) for a lump the size of the "tip of index finger" (as cgood75 described her lump) to show up over night.  A cancerous lump is highly unlikely to grow from being undetectable to that size in just a few days. On the other hand, a cyst could easily do that.

  • Srh242
    Srh242 Member Posts: 139
    edited February 2014
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    This study was done on An older population. I bet on younger women the growth is faster, since we tend to have more aggressive tumors.

  • ddbaker
    ddbaker Member Posts: 3
    edited July 2018
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    I am 45 years old and been on Hormone Replacement Therapy for 15 years. I noticed on Sunday that my breast was sore on the outer quadrant of the right breast. I had a mammo about 3-4 months ago and it was clear. The pain has decreased but the spot is still there. It feels solid but not hard and it is not floating but closer to the chest wall. I would say in between a mass and a lump. I have always heard that breast pain is not a symptom of cancer so I am not that worried, more curious. I got into my PCP yesterday and she has ordered an ultrasound but I probably get that scheduled until next week. No strong history of BC but being on HRT for 15 years prompted me to visit my PCP.

  • denise-g
    denise-g Member Posts: 353
    edited July 2018
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    ddbaker - it is a myth that pain cannot be a symptom of breast cancer. I say that not to scare you, but to set the record straight.

    There are hundreds of women on these boards who had breast pain before diagnosis, including me. I had pain for a year and a half before diagnosis, believed the myth, and did not get checked. I could have saved my breast if I had gone in earlier.

    It is good that you are getting the ultrasound!!

  • ddbaker
    ddbaker Member Posts: 3
    edited July 2018
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    I am scheduled for an ultrasound and mammogram but it isn’t until July 31 which I find a bit long of a wait. My lump has decreased in size but its still there. I also noticed a sore spot in my high up in my armpit but maybe I am just being paranoid now.

    Not as painful thankfully. Thanks for your reply Denise.

  • micmel
    micmel Member Posts: 9,921
    edited July 2018
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    I would Immediately have a mammogram. I had a lump Pop up over night, and shrink away with my Period for a year. Showed two doctors all said it was a cyst. Well it wasn't. Hormonal cancer is tricky sometimes with presentation. And the lumps can grow quickly once they transform to canceous cells. Do not take a chance. If you have children especially and because life is important. I wish I would have gone a year earlier, because I didn't. I was stage four Denovo. Do not let that happen to you ever. It's better to be safe than sorry. Mine hurt also. They sometimes saycancer doesn't hurt. But mine hurt terribly. Especially when it started to morph into an odd shaped unmovable monster that was honestly excruciating. I would Never want that for anyone to go through what I have. The one thing that isn't bullshi* that they say is. Early detection. I wish you nothing but luck. ~M~