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Radiologist told me I have breast cancer without a biopsy.

BeautifullyBroken4284 Member Posts: 29
edited February 2018 in Just Diagnosed

To start a few months ago I found a lump on my breast. I waited to see if it would go away. It did not so I made an appointment with my OBGYN and sure enough she felt the lump too. This was last week. Today I had a 3-D mammogram with an ultra sound directly after. Neither techs would give me any information about my results, which is to be expected expected. Upon completion of my ultra sound the tech had me wait and went to get the radiologist. She came in and said I have breast cancer and I have 4 mass's and that she wanted the tech to take an additional look at my lymph nodes under where my breast meets my arm pit. When the tech looked that's where one of the mass's is in my lymph nodes. She said that is one that she def wants to biopsy that one. She said the biopsy will tell us what's say what stage it is and what type of cancer it is. I don't understand how a radiologist is able to tell from a mammogram and an ultra sound that you have breast cancer. How is that even possible??? I'm so confused. I'm only 32 years old. My fathers mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 34 years old. Any advice would be great. I go for my byposies on Thursday which is the day after tomorrow.



  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,002

    A radiologist was the one to first see my breast cancer. He came in and said from his experience (some 30+ years), he thought it was probably BC and asked permission to do an ultrasound biopsy while I was there. They did the biopsy, put in some clips and did a mammo to make sure the clips were in visible in the correct places. The reports took a week, but sure enough he was right. He was so professional I had no doubts, so when I left there I made appointments to see my OB/Gyn and a breast surgeon and an MO.

    Beautifully - I hope your biopsy results will be B-9, but the radiologists are the first line of diagnostics so their expertise does mean something.

  • chisandy
    chisandy Member Posts: 11,171

    There are certain hallmarks of malignancies that can be seen on mammogram & ultrasound—shape, size, pattern, brightness, shading (which indicates how well echoes are returned and therefore how solid the mass), irregular borders, as well as whether they change shape when the ultrasound probe presses on them, etc. That’s why you’re getting biopsied—both because sometimes these things do turn out by surprise to be benign, but also to determine what kind of breast cancer if they’re malignant so you can plan a course of treatment.

    Don't get ahead of yourself, don't Google! Stick to this site (the articles are topnotch), the American Cancer Society, and Komen. Take it one step at a time. You might want to read Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book (or the one by Dr. Elisa Port), but those are more for reference for specific things you'd want to look up—pretty long and not a good bathroom or beach read.

    It sucks that you are facing this so young. Go scream, throw things, break stuff, howl at the moon, whatever blows off steam without harming you or anyone else. And we are here for you (“in your pocket," as we say).

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,689


    We're sorry that you find yourself here, and we're sorry for the worry and fear you're undoubtedly experiencing. Radiologists are trained to look for certain markers (like ChiSandy mentioned), but a diagnosis can only be confirmed with a biopsy. We also hope your results are benign, and we'll be thinking of you! Just know that whatever happens, we're here for you.

    Please keep us posted!

    The Mods

  • Beatmon
    Beatmon Member Posts: 617

    The biopsy will tell you what type of breast cancer that you have. There are quite a few different types, all with different treatments. They can't actually tell what stage it is for sure without further testing for cancer cells that may have landed and invaded a distant organ. Many mammos are followed by a breast MRI also.

    I don't want you to be frightened by them telling you it was cancer for sure, because some do come back benign. Reading on this site will give you information so that if it is true, it will have helped prepare you.

    When my radiologist gave me her personal cell number after telling me she was sure it was cancer, I was pretty darn sure she would be right. Waiting on the results over the weekend gave me time to take some deep breathes and gather information.

    Hoping for only the best for you. brenda E


  • She told me 2 of the mass's are 5cm big. The other two are smaller. I'm am scared/terrified to say the least. Is it normal that they get you in for biopsy's so quickly? Do they always biopsy mass's that are found in women's breasts? I was watching the ultrasound and one of the masses almost looked like an upside down tugboat. I feel like I didn't ask enough questions while I was there. I was in complete shock over what she had said to me that I was in a trance and everything feels very surreal and still does. If they were cysts wouldn't she have told me then?? Why be so quick to jump the gun and say it's cancer. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this. She mentioned getting me set up with a team at the breast center where I was at and getting a plan going along with meeting surgeons. So much information so quickly with someone who is in shock. Went I got to the parking lot after my appointment I threw up.

  • lintrollerderby
    lintrollerderby Member Posts: 70

    While there are certain characteristics which can be suggestive of malignancy, especially to someone trained to detect it, an official determination and diagnosis does not happen without a biopsy. Radiologists are certainly experts and many can have a very good idea of a condition just by looking at the imaging. They are wrong sometimes when they are going on appearance. I had two radiologists tell me that the lump I had was not cancer. One gave me a BIRAD score of 3, and the other gave me a 4a (and that was only because he decided to be "better safe than sorry" and chose 4a over 3 so that I could have the excisional biopsy I wanted).

    A biopsy is not used to determine stage.

    If your paternal grandmother had breast cancer at age 34 and you're 32, I would strongly recommend genetic counseling and testing. I was diagnosed at age 34 and my genetic mutation was passed to me from my father.

    Best of luck to you and I hope the radiologist is wrong, but if they aren't, you've come to the right place.
  • Numb
    Numb Member Posts: 307

    My radiologist told me she would be very surprised if my biopsy results were b9, that my tumour had all the hallmarks of cancer, and she was right. I think they know from experience, looking at these lumps for years. I would not panic if I were you as yours could be Insitu as these insitu lumps can be quite big but yet they are easy to treat.

  • kicks
    kicks Member Posts: 319

    It is possible for a Dr/Radiilogist to highly suspect cancer but without a biopsy it is impossible to state that there is absolutely BC there. And certainly not the type of BC - DCIS, IDC, ILC or IBC. Until after surgery (post MX or LX) Stage can not accurately be shown. The type is vitally important as the different types have different TX plans and prognosis.

    There are a few times when the Radiologist (not a tech) may feel (from their educated veiwing of mammos/US/etc.) that some type of BC may be present and will occasionally tell some of their suspicion. They usually do not want to give inaccurate information - positive or negative. I was told after my mammo, US, and biopsies that Thursday affernoon that he was highly suspicious of IBC but he could NOT give a DX of it til he had the path. report the next morning. I had gone in for a new mammo at 1 and left about 3 that afternoon after the US and biopsies also. He was right - he called me at 8 the next morning - he was right IBC.

    There are times that a highly suspicious area will come back benign from the biopsy, just as there times that an area believed to be benign will show from the biopsy to be BC. They do not want to impart unfounded fear or equally importantly, unfounded belief that 'everything is fine'.

    It is good that you are being set up to meet with your Team. All TX for BCs are a Team effort for optiminal outcome/prognosis. There are many different potential TX plans but each discipline (surgeon/chemo/rads) are all interrelated. Grade, ER/PR +/- status, HER2 +/- status all come into the TX plan. There are other tests that may also be important for your TX plan.

    Be sure you get ALL the answers - straight - before starting TX.

  • kimm992
    kimm992 Member Posts: 28

    I had a similar experience. The radiologist said he was 99% sure that what he was seeing was BC and that he wanted to do a biopsy immediately to confirm.

  • Jezikah
    Jezikah Member Posts: 68

    I found a lump and went to my PCP to have it checked out. She felt the lump and scheduled me for an ultrasound as soon as I got back from vacation 2 weeks later. I went to have the U/S on a Thursday. The radiologist said that it looked "concerning" and wanted to do a biopsy right away. They had me go do a mammogram while they set up for the biopsy. I had the biopsy done that same day and a call from the radiologist the next day at noon saying it was cancerous.

  • Leslie2016
    Leslie2016 Member Posts: 121

    Beaut...I found the lump, saw my GP, he scheduled my mammogram and ultrasound, with biopsy as needed. I didn't like the way it felt. He didn't like the way it felt. The US tech didn't like the way it looked, the radiologist didn't like it so came in and did the biopsy, all in the same day. Getting the biopsy done quickly is not a bad thing. A cyst looks differently than a tumor on the US. a cyst is fluid filled, a tumor looks solid. Plus other things they know.

  • debiann
    debiann Member Posts: 447

    The roller coaster does start to go very fast once a malignancy is suspected. I had my regular mammo and when they saw the concerning mass they did an ultrasound right away and a biopsy the next day. My radiologist also told me immediately that it was cancer. I spent a week of goggling, trying to find something else it would be, but unfortunately, the biopsy confirmed she was right.

    I don't recommend goggling, too much information is outdated or doesn't pertain to your specific circumstance. This forum offers a lot of good information if you want to prepare questions for your next appointment.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome. So sorry you have to be here.

  • Can anyone give me their advice on this plz.image

  • tangandchris
    tangandchris Member Posts: 934

    I had a similar experience as age 39 and the radiologist said he was sure it was BC and I was floored. I know its scary as hell right now, but although the urgency can feel even scarier it is a good sign that they are looking to take care of you. We are for sure in your pocket sweetie, keep us updated.


  • kae_md99
    kae_md99 Member Posts: 394

    the radiologist was the one who told me i had breast cancer. right after ultrasound and diagnostic fact , she also saw cancer on the other breast,missed during screening mammo. biopsy proved her right. hugs to you! it is hard but this board helps me a lot , being newly diagnosed...

  • chisandy
    chisandy Member Posts: 11,171

    Most likely, your report would be a BIRADS 5, had they used that terminology. You have several small-to-medium (the latter being the 2.3cm) masses plus a highly suspicious lymph node toward the bottom of your armpit, and they are suggesting a biopsy (rightly so). The two smaller masses (6 & 7 mm) are located close enough to the others that they're suggesting you meet with a surgeon to discuss whether a lumpectomy would be possible (or because they are so small, if they should be surgically removed and biopsied ASAP rather than wait for the results of a needle biopsy). All the tumors appear to be somewhat close together, so they could possibly be removed (with margins) in a single procedure; but the fact that you have several at different depths indicates that lumpectomies would remove enough breast tissue that mastectomy might be preferable (your choice, which is why you need to talk to the surgeon). The presence of “vascularity" is concerning—it means the masses have generated their own blood vessels, a hallmark of malignant tumors. And blood vessels can be a means by which cells can spread. The irregular borders are also worrisome.

    I'd get this taken care of sooner rather than later. Schedule the biopsies & surgical consult.

  • edwards750
    edwards750 Member Posts: 1,568

    The radiologist told me I had BC before I had my biopsy too. Made the phone call from her after the biopsy a foregone conclusion so I was braced for the DX.


  • Purpleisland
    Purpleisland Member Posts: 9

    I was twice told they were pretty sure it was cancer before biopsy and both came back benign but now I have cancer confirmed by Oncoblot test. I was tired of all the biopsies and wanted to be sure. So I certainly hope that your test come back benign but even if it does there are signs of problems so you need to be very on top of this

  • meow13
    meow13 Member Posts: 1,363

    Same here the radiologist knew it was cancer before biopsy. I had 2 1cm tumors no lymph nodes. Did the mastectomy and DIEP and 4 years of AI. Been NED for 5 years.

  • Thankfully my doctors are attacking this aggressively. Rightfully so. I'm going for my biopsys today. The ultra sound and mammo were just the day before yesterday. Stress can not begin to state how in feeling right now. Things are moving very fast. I feel like I'm On auto pilot taking care of my daughters 6 & 12 who know something is going on however I have not yet old them anything. I don't want to tell them before have a have all facts.

  • NotVeryBrave
    NotVeryBrave Member Posts: 169

    I had a very similar experience - I felt a lump and saw the OB/GYN who sent me the same day for mammogram and ultrasound. I knew more was involved from the multiple mammograms and the tech who did the ultrasound was very honest about "concerning" features in the breast and lymph nodes. I also had the biopsies done two days later.

    The Interventional Radiologist's report was that he was sure both sites would be positive for cancer. However - only the breast site was! That was my silver lining at the time. The lymph node was definitely hit - you can see a hole right through it on the MRI. While I know that there still exists the possibility of positive lymph nodes closer to the tumor, I have to go with the relief of none under my arm.

    I wish you the best. It is all very overwhelming to go through. Try to concentrate on the positive where you can. And breathe!

  • MTwoman
    MTwoman Member Posts: 228

    BeautifullyBroken - remember you carry a lot of us 'in your pocket' today. Practice good self care as best you can, I carried relaxing music and headphones for the wait between the 'action'. Good luck! (and don't forget to breathe)

  • Purpleisland
    Purpleisland Member Posts: 9

    Beautifully I learned from my experience don't let them push you too fast. If you have cancer it's probably been there so a day or two to put some thoughts to what you want to do about it is a good idea. The doctors will try to scare you into doing what they want you to do but you need to carefully evaluate your options. Don't rush

    And I agree time with family music and studies have shown before surgery that playing games helps. So before my surgical biopsy I played games on my phone to keep myself calm. Studies show that this helps the outcome as far as complications.

  • radgal
    radgal Member Posts: 23

    I remember after I came in for the additional mammogram views the radiologist requested, he did an ultrasound and biopsy right then and there.

    During the ultrasound, he was describing to me (per my request) what he was looking at and said that it was highly suspicious for malignancy. He called me right after he got the biopsy results and confirmed that I did have breast cancer.

    Yes, it was a lot to take in all at once.

    Suddenly I became a member of the Pink Ribbon and Big C (cancer) club.

    In hindsight, I am forever grateful for my radiologist's thoroughness with my case. As daunting as the information was to hear, take in and process, I didn't have to wait weeks in suspense wondering if I had cancer or not. Yes I did. Okay. I cried, I went through the gamut of emotions, I learned and explored all options and went with what felt right for me.

    Yes, I can be immensely overwhelming.

    That said, cancer woke me up. It really has changed me.

    I am grateful for my breast cancer because it changed me.

    It woke me up.

    I may not live as long because of breast cancer but the quality of my life today is far superior than if I had been plodding along as I had been without cancer but asleep to all there is.

  • Hey everyone. So I posted earlier this week about having a radiologist tell me I have breast cancer by simply seeing my ultrasound and mammogram on Tuesday 01/24/17. By Thursday 01/26/17 I was back at the breast center having 3 of the 5 mass's biopsied. 4 of which are ok my breast and one isn't in my lymph nodes. Then at 3pm on the dot while picking my youngest daughter Aaliyah up from school the call came in from my nurse coordinator. Jennifer the pre-lim results came in and you have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. She then spoke of more things but my mind was in a complete trance. She didn't give me a stage and said she should be able to tell me by Monday 01/30/17. On 02/03/17, I'm going in to have a bilateral breast MRI. Things in a matter of moments changed my entire life, as well as my daughters. So many thoughts are going through my mind. Will they do chemo first, or take my breasts. What about radiation? Cancer on top of already having a auto immune diease. Who knew...... needless to say today my two good friend rallied and have decided to throw a kick off the fight against breast cancer party on 2/4. With a donated banquet room, dj, photopgrapher etc. As some women I know have traveled down the road of breast cancer I never thought it would happen to me. The emotions are still coming in waves. I'm positive, or I'm crying, or I'm On auto pilot, or I'm starring at the wall in disbelief. Life sure has changed so fast. From what I understand once the ball gets rolling on treatment it goes so fast which is good but scary. I don't know now if it really matters or not, but I'm really curious as to what stage they are going to diagnose me at. Does nayone have any insight on how they may stage it? I know someone who was diagnosed with stage 2 from having only 2 mass's. I have 5 one of which is my lymph node. Ranging from the size of 6mm to 2 centeimeters.

  • debiann
    debiann Member Posts: 447

    The stage will be determined by the size and if any lymph nodes are involved. Here's a linkStaging

    Things get better once you have a treatment plan in place.

    Prayers for you

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,002

    Good that you moved the post to here. So I'm moving my answer to here alwo.

    Beautifully - Sorry about the diagnosis. Yes, it is a very emotional & difficult time. Try to find things to do until you meet with the doc so you don't focus on it. As someone mentioned in your other thread, don't go checking with Dr. Google. There are too many scare stories out there and much outdated information. And no, no one will be able to give you definitive information except your doc. Once you know more about your diagnosis, what is your hormone status, what they're recommending for treatment, etc - please do post those things in My Profile so we will be able to give you some thoughts.

    You're in my thoughts.

  • danix5
    danix5 Member Posts: 141

    So so sorry you have joined this club!😢 I have just been rediagnosed with breast cancer. It is very surreal every time you here the words"you have cancer"

    Nothing can make the worry stop but this site can help provide information, advise and just to let you vent!

    I hope you get your treatment plan and get started very soon. The sooner the better and closer to end of treatments and resuming normal life!



  • ok I don't even know where to begin. Things are moving incrediably fast. This was the text I sent out to my family with an update today.

    So the dr called. The pathology reports are in. It's invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I'm being placed between stage 2 and 3, I have yet to be given a definitive answer to that question yet.Two of the tumors are showing different grades. One is grade 3, and the other is grade 2 with my lymph node being metastatic. All tumors were positive for HER2. They are questioning if it's all the same cancer. As the pathology from the two largest tumors on my breast is different. One is more estrogen driven and the other is more progesterone driven. The changed my breast MRI to tomorrow night instead of Friday they said that's too far out. So it's being done after hours.I'm also meeting with my surgeon tomorrow morning at 8am. Then genetic testing on 2/1 @ 10am.... I should be meeting with my oncologist no later than Monday. I'm likely going to start chemo first, then have surgery. Having radiation is really up in the air because of the fact that I have an auto immune disease, which the radiation could significantly cause to flare.

    So much to take in. They called tonight and said the breast MRI will last an HOUR! For an hour I'll be stuck inside that little machine!!!

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,002

    Beautifully - sorry to hear about the diagnosis. Likely the stage won't be confirmed until after surgery. I don't take drugs, but I make an exception when I have an MRI or a PET/CT. I take one Xanax if I have someone to drive me home. Good luck.