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50/50 Chance.

[Deleted User]
[Deleted User] Member Posts: 1
edited February 2021 in Waiting for Test Results


Didn't know if I should post or even be here. All started with a breast infection. Antibiotics helped but didn't completely cure. Then ultrasound came back Birads 3. Doctor wanted more tests. Mammogram showed an area or concern - microcalcifications. Called back for magnified mammogram. Came back Birads 4 (no subcategory) - grouped microcalcifications are pleomorphic, and “perhaps" branching. Radiologist used the words “mildly suspicious for malignancy". I've been clinging to the word “mildly".
Just got home from my mammotome stereotactic biopsy. I know I should stay away from a googling all these words, but I think everyone here has as much trouble staying away. I've been looking for ANY hopeful, positive words of hope from one of these sites.

All I've found is that with the words used on my magnified mammogram results, it's between 2 and 95% chance malignancy. I'm hoping the word “mildly" can get me around the 50/50 chance area. But even 50/50 is not good. And what’s worse, this spot is at 6oclock and bc that forms in lower quadrants have lower survival rates

I'm scared. I'm ready for the call telling me it's malignant. But being ready doesn't make it any less scary.

I guess I'm m hoping to find some ladies out there that know the lingo. Why was there no subcategory given.

Waiting for results and really scared.

Thank you all


  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,894
    edited February 2021

    Dear BlingyRen,

    Welcome to the BCO community. We are sorry for what brings you here but we are glad that you reached out and posted your concerns and question. While you are waiting for some of our members to reply you may want to check out this link with resources around Common Questions about Symptoms and Imaging.Keep us posted on your results and let us know how we can continue to support you. Waiting for results is very stressful and all of our members will agree with that. We are here to wait with you.

    The Mods

  • kmom57
    kmom57 Member Posts: 153
    edited February 2021

    BlingyRen, I can’t give you any insight into the imaging terminology, as I’m not knowledgeable in this, but I did want to give you a virtual hug. Yes, it’s very scary, and being ready for bad news doesn’t make it any less so. Waiting is the worst. We will hope that it turns out to be benign, but know that regardless, you are stronger than you yet know. And though I am not an imaging expert, the word “mildly” sounds promising to me as those things noted to be “mild” on my various scans over the past year have generally turned out to be ok. Hang in there. I’m sure one of our resident imaging “experts” will be along shortly.

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301
    edited February 2021

    Welcome Blingy! You're absolutely in the right place! I won't comment much on the medical b/c others have more knowledge than my minimal knowledge. Likely the 'mildly" puts you at the lower end of the 2-95% - well under the 50-50. Also I had a lower quadrant area of concern - it came back DCIS (precancerous or pre-invasive cancer cells that can ONLY survive in the ducts) so good news (if you will) can come from the lower quadrant area. I have only a 5% chance of recurrence too.... good, well.... great.... odds.... so know that IF your biopsy results show an issue it also does not have to be really bad news - there are lots of possibilities... I'm pulling from you and hope you don't have to wait too long for results. As KMom said it is sooooo difficult waiting and our imaginations run wild during such times. Please stay away from Google/Bing and spend time on this site if you really need support or info. There are lighthearted forums and threads on this site too. Also do enjoyable distracting non-internet things too.... healthier to balance your time..... Let us know when you hear, ok?

  • Member Posts: 1,435
    edited February 2021

    Blingy, sorry you've had to join us here.

    Biospies and facing the unknown is scary. But be careful to not jump too far ahead.

    To your comments and questions, first off, why was there no subcategory of BI-RADS 4 given? Probably because your facility doesn't use subcategories. Some places do, some places don't. It's as simple as that. I was screened and treated at a major cancer hospital and they don't. There is nothing to read into the fact that your "4" wasn't given an "a", "b", or "c".

    On average, 70%-75% of BI-RADS 4 biopsies are benign while 25%-30% are malignant. However personally I'd guess that your 50/50 may be about right, given the words "pleomorphic" and "branching". But what you maybe didn't notice in what you were Googling is that calcifications, when malignant, usually mean that the diagnosis will be DCIS.

    DCIS is Stage 0 breast cancer. According to some experts, DCIS not a real cancer, because the abnormal cells are confined to the milk ducts and not in the open breast tissue and therefore can't spread - whether DCIS should be considered a cancer or not is a very controversial issue. But however it is defined, all DCIS is non-invasive and Stage 0, which means that the quadrant and survival rates doesn't matter (this is where you were jumping way ahead!).

    Could it be more than DCIS? Yes, but when the area of suspicion is calcifications with no corresponding mass, if invasive cancer is found, then most often it will be a very small invasive cancer surrounded by an area of DCIS. In fact while approx. 80% of all invasive breast cancer diagnoses are early stage, when the presentation is calcifications and not a solid mass, the odds of an very early stage diagnosis will be higher than that.

    So even if you land on in the wrong 50%, chances are that this will be a either Stage 0 DCIS or a very early stage, very treatable diagnosis.

    But hopefully you end up in right 50%, with a benign result.

    Let us know how it goes.

  • quinnie
    quinnie Member Posts: 113
    edited February 2021

    blingyren: I am so sorry you are so anxious and fearful. If you do get the diagnosis you can see through many of us here, including myself that breast cancer is not the end. I feel it is the best cancer to have if you have to have one. I have at least 10 relatives that had or have breast cancer and all are survivors. The odds are really in your favor. I do suffer from some anxiety but in terms of my health I never had anxiety. Maybe it is because I am in a health profession. I remember when I was diagnosed I looked forward to the next step to get rid of the cancer. I never minded scans, radiation or doctor visits because I knew it was to treat this problem. My family and friends often thought i was in denial because I was never anxious. But I get anxious over other things and know the feeling. My Mom is in assisted living and the anxiety I feel for her can be overwhelming because there is nothing I can do for her right now during COVID.

    Keep on posting here as I think it helps just sitting and typing in your feelings and we can support you.

    Let us know whats going on.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,939
    edited February 2021

    BlingyRen, I did as many fun things as possible in my 2018 cancer half-year (tests, appointments, biopsy, diagnosis, scans, surgery, an unrelated cancer diagnosis (kidney), more scans and appointments, breast re-excision for clean margins, nephrectomy, and finally radiation. It all was just over six months. It was packed full of day trips, mostly exploring parks, and a few weekend trips. I remember the fun stuff MUCH more than any of the tedious medical annoyances. I'd recommend talking to your doctor about your severe anxiety.

  • melissadallas
    melissadallas Member Posts: 929
    edited February 2021

    Blingren, I am going to be very honest with you. Whether this is truly situational, or a more chronic problem, you need to ask your medical team for help with your anxiety. It is easily treatable and there is absolutely no reason to suffer as you are doing. I have been around these boards a long time and, despite women here practically gibbering with fear over biopsies, often with all evidence to the contrary as to likelihood of diagnosis, I have never seen a single one spend hundreds of dollars on “potentially needed” aids for post op “extreme surgery.” NEVER. This is an over the top reaction and not at all reasonable just to “be in control.”

  • melissadallas
    melissadallas Member Posts: 929
    edited February 2021

    I do fully understand, and I am not “scolding” you. I see the results and the “50/50”chance and your family history. I am just saying that your anxiety level is way over the top to what is the usual level of anxiety. I am truly sorry that you are suffering so, especially with at least even odds that it is unnecessary.

  • 2019whatayear
    2019whatayear Member Posts: 464
    edited February 2021

    I'm sure at some point someone will do research on this, but I think living in a pandemic has pushed up everyone's general level of anxiety and that causes anyone going thru testing for potential cancer to be more anxious than if there wasn't also a pandemic. Like our tipping points from reasonable anxiety into pathological anxiety is just lower right now.

    I hope you have your results ASAP and come back here to share with us that your results are benign.

  • 2019whatayear
    2019whatayear Member Posts: 464
    edited February 2021

    I have a loved one who has anxiety and I could def. see this loved one purchasing items based on a potential diagnosis--it would be a comfort to them and in the back of their mind I know they would be thinking (due to OCD) IF I purchase this stuff then I'll be sure not to need it because I will be fine.

    Our minds are tricky!

    Again I hope you get some benign results asap!

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
    edited February 2021

    We all have different coping strategies and trying to control situations is not unusual so I totally get that.

    But I would echo MelissaDallas in saying that getting anxiety under control is an important part of health care. I would suggest reaching out to your primary health provider or a counsellor and starting some therapy (either cognitive behavioral therapy or pharmacotherapy).

    We are not scolding you - we are recognizing your pain, and offering suggestions on how to ease it.

    It's same if someone came to me and said they were hurting so much in their hip they were crying from the pain - I would say you need to see a doctor and get it diagnosed and treated. We're not scolding to say someone needs to get medical attention for an issue - we're trying to help someone see that it has gone beyond what is the "wait it out, tolerate and hope it goes away on its own" stage. This is a medical issue. When anxiety and panic are that strong, you deserve treatment, not to suffer.

    You deserve peace of mind. Doesn't matter how likely or unlikely a diagnosis is, or if we already have a diagnosis, how dire it is (see mine - it's terminal). We all deserve peace of mind and skills and support to find joy and calm amidst the storms.

    One practical reason for peace of mind is that it helps make evidence based decisions. For example, do you know that a bilateral mastectomy doesn't prevent metastatic (fatal) recurrence? It is important to know this and not rush into decisions with fear chasing at our heels.

    best wishes

  • Member Posts: 1,435
    edited February 2021

    Blingy, I'm sorry that you are so distressed. What you need to do is take a step back. And take a deep breath. Everyone here is trying to help you. You know that your level of fear is over the top; having someone say that to you isn't being judgemental or reprimanding you, it's stating a fact that you know is true. If someone is drowning, saying, "I see you drowning and that's okay" isn't being supportive. By my way of thinking, it is also not supportive to see someone struggling with anxiety and say, "Your anxiety is just fine, keep at it". The harder message, telling someone that their anxiety is more than it should be for the situation, is in fact being much more supportive.

    What I see is that rather than try to understand and manage your fear, you are doubling down on it and digging in. Your comment about "extreme surgery" really hit me. A BMX is big surgery, preparation is required, and it takes time to recover, but for most people it's a lot easier than then expect. What you are doing is thinking the worst and preparing for the worst about everything that might (but might not) be ahead. You say you are doing it because as a control freak, this will help you manage your fear. Fellow control freak here. From your post and how you are describing your fear, it doesn't sound like this is managing your fear but in fact is making your fear worse, because you are dwelling on worst case scenarios and focusing on your fear of a diagnosis.

    Yes, you might be diagnosed with breast cancer, either from this biopsy or in the future, given your family history and risk level. A cancer diagnosis is scary, it disrupts your life and it may change your perspective on life. Most of us responding here have been diagnosed with breast cancer (some more than once) and/or other cancers. We know. We also know that you get through it, one step at a time, one day at a time, and you continue to live your life. Here we all are, people who have experienced what you fear most, and we are holding your hand and offering suggestions on how to deal with the fear.

    The fear is awful. It makes the whole situation, whether you are diagnosed with breast cancer or not, so much worse.

    If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you will deal it then. You will, I promise. What you need to do now is deal with the fear. Doubling down and playing out & preparing for every worst case scenario is not how you do that. Here's a suggestion. If you can't stop thinking about the possibility of breast cancer, why don't you take a read through this board. Notice all the positive posts and all the support. Check out some of the "Moving On" threads and see how people on this board are having fun and enjoying their lives. It is all rosy and fun? No, but nothing in life is. Maybe focusing on "normal" life through and after a diagnosis will change your expectations of what a breast cancer diagnosis means and how you will get through it. And maybe that will take the terror out of your situation, as you wait for your biopsy result.

  • Member Posts: 1,435
    edited February 2021

    Blingy, I'm so sorry to see that you've deleted your posts. I truly do hope that you return, either to give us good news about your biopsy results, or for support and information if you are diagnosed. Everyone here only wants the best for you, whatever happens.

    Edited to add: Now I see that Blingy has deleted her membership on the site. I guess this means that she won't be back to update us on her results. It's a shame, because people who respond put in time and effort, really do care and are invested in her situation. Unfortunately by deleting her ID, this completely removes any evidence of her posts, so it's impossible to see where people were reacting to posts that she'd made. Blingy is entitled to take her ball and go home, but frankly I think it's rude to ask for support and then kick sand in the faces of everyone who offered support - even if some of what was offered wasn't what was expected. Given that this is a public forum and our content is controlled by BCO, I don't think BCO should allow this. All that said, I hope that Blingy's biopsy is benign and she doesn't face a situation where she needs information and support.