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fat necrosis

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  • OnTarget
    OnTarget Member Posts: 124
    edited February 2021

    I noticed a lump about an inch below my clavicle near my armpit. The ultrasound was inconclusive, but we did some circe du Soleil to do a mammogram on it.

    They said it is fat necrosis based on the fact that there is fat around it. They said that it may look more like classic fat necrosis in 6 months when they check it again. It is not vascular, it has undefined borders, and it hurts to press.

    It is Birads 3.

    I don't remember a trauma there, but I'm active, so very possible. I don't think fat grafting went so high, but who knows?

    Now to wait 6 months...

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 996

    Bumping this up again because I found a lump that I think is likely fat necrosis, but still concerns me.

    I have diagnosed fat necrosis on my left breast reconstruction, (via DIEP). The new area of concern is on my right reconstructed breast (via implant), which was done 8 months ago. The lump is small, but near the breast bone. I have a hard time believing cancer could grow that quickly in 8 months, but my cancer was grade 3 DCIS with a small area of IDC, so possibly DCIS? I have my scheduled appointment with my BS in a few weeks, so I will show him. Having gone through this before, I am pretty sure it is fat necrosis.

    When I had fat necrosis after my last mastectomy, it didn't show up for several years, but my former BS ordered an ultrasound. The radiologist felt it was fat necrosis but asked to repeat the US in 6 months, which I did. The BS PA actually found another area of concern so both were checked with US at the same time and both were found to be fat necrosis. Two years later those areas haven't changed. I know some say fat necrosis goes away, mine didn't, but it also didn't get larger. The Dx was based on the US, so I assume radiologists can certainly tell with assurance, which is fat necrosis and which is likely cancer.

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    maverickmom- hi I remember talking with you when going through surgery. I had mine a month later. I am also wondering about fat necrosis in my right breast which is my non cancer side that I had a reduction on. I have a lump there that seems to be getting harder. The last time I was at the plastic surgeon he wanted to see me again in 3 months which is next week. He said that if it didn’t go away he might remove it. I have my first mammogram and ultrasound schedule for Aug so I wonder what that will show. I am feeling concern but it seems like this happens. It makes me feel better that you can feel the same thing and we had surgery around the same time.

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 996

    Hi Marge! Yes, I remember you! Wow, ironic we are both finding ourselves in this position! I am sure for both of us it is fat necrosis, but I won't feel better until I see my breast surgeon in a few weeks. I have a feeling he will just brush it off.

    I realize that mine is most likely fat necrosis, but I hope he orders an US to be sure. After three new breast cancers, I don't know if I will ever really feel free of cancer. I hope your PS removes your lump or at least moves up your mammogram and US, to give you peace of mind. I no longer have real breasts so no more mammograms for me. I guess that is another reason mine is likely not cancer, although, I had a high-grade cancer in that breast and they can never remove all the breast tissue. On the other hand, I don't think a cancerous lump could show up that quickly in my case.

    I know it sounds crazy, but I was feeling the lump that was diagnosed as fat necrosis in my left reconstructed breast and the lump I found in my right reconstructed breast at the same time to see if they felt the same. They are similar, but also different, so even doing that didn't help.

    PLEASE let me know how things turn out for you! You can post here or PM me. Wishing you a benign outcome!

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    maverickmom- yeah so weird we are having the same issue. I don’t think it’s crazy to feel one side you know is fat necrosis to see if the other feels the same. I think I would do the same. It’s so hard to know what you’re feeling. Mine is in The oppose breast that I had cancer in so that makes it me stress a little. It weird that it feels like it’s getting g harder. Is that what your feels like?

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 996

    margecandoit, my diagnosed fat necrosis is hard. The new lump in my latest reconstructed breast is not hard, but firm, like a "vitamin D" capsule. I am pretty sure it is also fat necrosis. I took a pink sharpie and put a dot on my skin where the lump is to make it easier to find. I am so afraid of feeling like a fool in front of my doctor and I didn't want to see him in two weeks and then go hunting for the spot the lump is in.

    I had two US scans on my other side, 6 months apart. I think they do that because cancer should double in size every six months so if it isn't bigger than it is most likely not cancer. Anyway, almost four years later those spots are still the same size and consistency. I am curious as to why your doctor thought your lump might disappear. I guess fat necrosis can disappear too?

    I don't really know of anyone who had a lump that they felt after having a mastectomy that turned out to be cancer, so I guess we really both have more of a chance that our lumps are fat necrosis.

    Honestly, I feel like a complete mess. My shoulder blade and ribs on my left side hurt, my right hip hurts, sometimes the joints in my fingers and toes hurt, and my abdomen is still sore from the fat graphing that was done when I had my exchange surgery. So hard to tell what is from the Letrozole or normal post-op recovery and what, if any, should I be concerned about.

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 129

    maverickmom- I am sorry that you are going through this. I feel really scary and worried that this cancer will come back. I know you have experience this 3 times now and has to make you think the worst all the time. I also have rib pain and it make me concern also. I assume the fear never goes away.
    Good idea about putting a mark on it. Mine is really easy to fine so I don’t have to do it. My PS thought it may soften over time. Have another spot that isn’t a lump but it was long and skinny going up the side of my breast to my nipple. That one has soften and isn’t as noticeable. Hopefully we will get some clarity soon.
    I am having a hysterectomy on Friday so just another thing to get done.

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 996

    Oh Marge, I am so sorry to hear you are facing another major surgery! I will be thinking of you tomorrow, sending you tons of healing vibes!

    As for the worry, it took a long time, about 3 years or so, after my first cancer to not "think about it or the return of cancer." The second time, I had just started to relax, again about 3 years after my ILC Dx, and really began to feel my former BS was right, that I would never get cancer in my right breast, when I went for my "single" mammogram and the radiologist saw the new calcifications which turned out to be cancer!

    I don't know if I will ever feel cancer free again, but I know I have changed. It feels like a horrible "game" I am playing with cancer, as if as long as I acknowledge the possibility of its return, I will be okay!

    I do REALLY believe my lump is either fat necrosis or scar tissue, but I just want confirmation from my BS. I am more concerned about my bone pain, but feel that too is most likely just from the surgeries or Letrozole.

    Good luck tomorrow! Take care of yourself and try not to worry about the lump. One thing, one day, at a time!