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Having biopsy this week, very frightened

gamzu710 Member Posts: 203
edited September 2021 in Waiting for Test Results

Everything has happened so fast, my head is spinning. I went for my annual physical on Friday and brought up a small, mobile lump on my right breast that I had started noticing a couple of months ago to my PCP. She kept a poker face when palpating it and referred me for an ultrasound. I'm 33 and she thought a mammogram would not be informative at my age. When I called the imaging center to make an appointment, they had an immediate opening so I went pretty much from the PCP's office to the radiologist for the U/S.

I was really, really hoping it was just a standard cyst but the first thing the radiologist said was "This is not a simple cyst." He said it was "maybe a complex cyst, maybe some other mass, I don't know what it is" and recommended a core needle biopsy. I'm having that this Friday.

I haven't gotten the written U/S report yet so I don't know the BI-RADS or if there are other ominous words attached to the lump's description that he didn't say to me face-to-face, or if maybe he actually did have a good idea what it was but didn't want to panic me in the office. Well, so much for that. That's Memorial Day weekend and everything is closed is not helping things.

I'm completely terrified. I've had what has felt like a lingering muscle strain around my right breast/side since January, which came on suddenly and was initially quite bad (hurt to cough and sneeze) and is much better now but still lingering when I have to reach up high or sit in a chair too long. Lying down or standing up makes it go away. I attributed it to spending the last 12 months sitting in a lousy chair on Zoom all day for work and/or bad posture, but now I'm wondering if it's a symptom of something deeper and this little lump is just the tip of the iceberg.

The waiting is torture. I live alone and have told no one in real life what's going on, because until there's something to tell I just can't deal with everyone else's anxiety on top of my own. I'm so glad to have found this forum, though I dearly wish I didn't need to be here.



  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301

    Welcome gamzu! Glad you were able to get in for the U/S so soon.... that was a fortunate break vs. added waiting.... The waiting on all these kinds of things just really does stink! I'm sure you've already read that in many posts on this site.... Do what you can to distract the best you can until the biopsy and while waiting on results.... Please keep in mind too that most of these come back benign. I hope that's true in your case. Please let us know how the biopsy goes and certainly about results once you get those....

  • orangeflower
    orangeflower Member Posts: 66

    I know it's frightening but remember it could be something benign like a fibroadenoma. That's most likely given your age.

  • gamzu710
    gamzu710 Member Posts: 203

    Thank you both. I know the statistics are favorable but without seeing the written U/S report I'm loath to put too much weight on that just yet--the radiologist was pretty vague and brief and I couldn't get my brain in gear to ask questions and if I convince myself it'll probably be fine and then I see a report saying BI-RADS 4C or with words like "spiculated" it'll be a whole new gut punch. He told me nothing verbally about what the abnormal characteristics were, only that it wasn't a simple cyst, so I'm feeling pretty adrift.

    But reading this forum has been very validating so far. I'm trying to keep busy--my shower grout has never been cleaner!

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,924

    If it's a "mobile" lump, it could be a lipoma, a benign fatty tumor. I had one on my neck and radiologists and my PCP and an endocrinologist were puzzled by it. I finally got sent to an ENT because it had gotten huge, and he walked in the room and said "You've got quite a lipoma!" before the door had even closed. Turns out it was just in an unusual location so other doctors hadn't made the connection.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192

    I had a complex cyst when I was 30, the whole process scared me greatly. The mass was part solid, part cyst and my surgeon didn't think we could get a proper biopsy without taking the whole thing out. My doctor told me at my age then (30) odds were with me that it wasn't anything awful. At the time, those statements didn't help me much emotionally but they were accurate. Here is the thing I would focus on right now - you are taking great care of yourself, your doctors are supportive and attentive to your care, and you are taking the appropriate steps to confirm you are healthy. Best to you.

  • OnTarget
    OnTarget Member Posts: 124

    I'm sorry for this scary time! The waiting is the worst!

    If it is helpful, my radiologist told me to "expect cancer" after my ultrasound (I was BIRADS 5). So if yours is just unsure, that puts you in a much better category than me!

    Fingers crossed that you get great news!

  • gamzu710
    gamzu710 Member Posts: 203

    Thank you all. I'm oscillating between relative calm, highly anxious, and angry/irritable. Right now I'm mad at the radiologist because I've convinced myself that he has 47 years of experience so when he said he didn't know what it was, he had to be lying and hiding bad news until he wasn't face-to-face with me. I know this is completely irrational and stupid. I am way out over my skis right now.

    I'm not particularly anxious about the biopsy procedure itself but oddly I am anxious about the "mammogram for clip placement" that I saw also ordered in my patient portal. I've never had a mammogram before, which I realize on a forum for BC test results sounds ridiculous. But I'm going to be only a couple days before my period at that point and I imagine it's going to REALLY hurt.

  • Janet_111
    Janet_111 Member Posts: 9

    Dear Gamzu 710,

    I recently had biopsy and my results came benign.

    My biopsy was before my periods but it didn’t hurt and clip procedure was very easy as well.

    Wish you good luck.

  • gamzu710
    gamzu710 Member Posts: 203

    So I found my written report. It says "there is a 5x6x5 mm irregular, hypoechoic mass approximately 11 cm from the nipple. No cysts are seen. Impression: 5x6x5 mm indeterminant mass. Biopsy is recommended." BI-RADS is 4.

    Compared to some of the reports I have seen on here, this seems to contain basically no information??

  • ingerp
    ingerp Member Posts: 1,514

    Just that you need a biopsy to give you more information.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,924

    The radiologist wouldn't know what it is. Imaging shows WHERE something is, not WHAT it is. That's what biopsies are for. They can do an educated guess, but it would be unprofessional to share that guess.

  • gamzu710
    gamzu710 Member Posts: 203

    I guess I have been Googling IDC, complex cysts, etc. too much and was unrealistically expecting a more detailed description of what it looked like on U/S besides "irregular." Like, what was irregular about it. Oh, well! Thank you for giving me somewhere to vent my anxiety and irritability. I haven't told anyone in real life about any of this yet.

  • gamzu710
    gamzu710 Member Posts: 203

    Biopsy is tomorrow morning and I am a wreck. I made it through the day at work but have been breaking down in tears on and off ever since. I made the mistake of reading one radiology paper about BI-RADS that stated that "irregular" shape on U/S had 60% predictive value for malignancy and it has put me in a spiral.

  • redkitty815
    redkitty815 Member Posts: 18

    I am so so sorry that you find yourself here and I really hope that it turns out to be benign! I know it feels impossible, but PLEASE get off Google. It won’t give you the answer, only the biopsy will. PLEASE keep in mind that it is still likely to be benign, in which case we will all cheer for you and, if it’s not, you will be in good company of people that have been through it and will be virtually holding your hand through everything. I am sending the best possible vibes your way for a benign biopsy. In the meantime, try not to cross the bridge until you come to it-do what you can to distract yourself/calm yourself. Meditate, hot bath, stupid TV..

  • gamzu710
    gamzu710 Member Posts: 203

    Biopsy done. The procedure itself was OK. I just have a bad feeling. The lump seemed very firm to the point that the radiologist had trouble penetrating to place the marker. Only 2 samples were taken because she got a good chunk the first time and lopped the top off. She said I may be hearing from her about the results and then added that I could hear from the tech or the assistant, but almost as an afterthought. I know I'm reading a lot into very little due to lack of information. I've just not feeling optimistic about this.

  • aram
    aram Member Posts: 319

    I just wanted to let you know firmness might not be an indication. I had a biopsy for a new mass about 4 weeks ago, and the radiologist had lots of trouble getting good samples. I think they tried with 2 or 3 different size needles and the site of biopsy is still bruised after 4 weeks. But the result was benign.

  • gamzu710
    gamzu710 Member Posts: 203

    Thanks. The radiologist had to ask the U/S tech to provide counterpressure to get the needle in for the samples, though she said she got good samples. She also commented to the tech that the marker didn't seem strong enough to penetrate, though she then got it in. I couldn't feel how hard she was pushing but they told me after that a hematoma had formed that should absorb in "a few weeks." It's about 2 hours later and they told me I'd probably not feel much until the evening but that isn't the case, it's definitely sore.

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301

    Ice, ice and ice gamzu even into tomorrow... The waiting for results obviously won't be easy... likely more difficult than waiting for the biopsy itself. You will know soon. Most BIRAD 4 come out benign which hopefully will be for you as well. If not you will be able to proceed and we will be here to help....

  • Esther01
    Esther01 Member Posts: 229

    Hi Gamzu,

    How are you doing today? These are some wise women who have been weighing in. We're all here for you!

    Waiting is truly the pits. I remember being sore for awhile from the little seed they placed during the biopsy, but that passes. Some of the soreness was probably from the mammogram rather than the seed. I am praying that it comes back benign for you. I remember being terrified reading my reports, too. I can only imagine what my blood pressure was at those moments! I would take deep breaths (breathing deeply in, then holding four seconds, then slowly breathing out through my mouth) and started deliberately pampering myself (who knew that My Pillow sells such soft fleecy slippers, watching a silly tv show as someone else mentioned to you (my faves are Love Boat reruns on Pluto) and cutting myself major slack, because when you're in shock the brain needs some extra tlc so it can acclimate.

    While waiting, I started to get as healthy as possible regardless of whatever the biopsy showed. I made immediate diet/vitamin/supplement changes that I'd been meaning to do regardless. I figured if something is wrong with my body on a cellular level, I want to help fix it at the cellular level.

    It was hard to work at my desk when my mind would keep racing back to the worry, so it helped to take walks, sit in a beautiful spot outside with a fluffy pillow, and read or listen to music or a good podcast; anything to soothe my poor traumatized brain. I understand not wanting to share what you're going through until you know more. This kind of health scare is a heavy burden though so I'm glad you're sharing with us! All of those feelings are so relatable; I've had them too. None of us wanted to be here, but I can truly say that even though my lump did turn out to be cancer (I'm having surgery in three days and I'm ready :)), I am grateful that my PCP found it and I can honestly say that I've already been blessed by this scary, illuminating "adventure." I'm learning how to help my body be as inhospitable to cancer cells as possible, and I found a great integrative MD to walk alongside me in the journey.

    You are not alone! Please let us know how you're doing and when the results come back.



  • gamzu710
    gamzu710 Member Posts: 203

    So sorry to hear of your diagnosis, Esther01, but you have a great attitude. I'm not in that place. Physically I feel fine today, mentally I'm a wreck waiting for the call. Barely sleeping, not hungry. I simply cannot stop myself from obsessive Googling and have basically self-diagnosed with triple negative IDC this way and decided I will not live to see 40. The rational half of my brain knows this is totally unhelpful and stupid even if it turns out to be right, but the irrational half is at full throttle and overpowering it. I feel like I can't plan more than an hour ahead.

    On the plus side, the biopsy site has an interesting bruise but the soreness has been basically nonexistent. I've slept on that side the last two nights and felt nothing.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,453


    As everyone else has said, waiting is the hardest part. The unknown is like an enormous blank canvas and sometimes our minds paint the worst picture on that canvas. Whether you have breast cancer or not this would be a good time to work on health anxiety. As we get older almost all of us will begin to experience more medical issues so if you want to look for something positive in this experience it may help you learn how to deal with potential medical issues.

    If Dr. Google were a truly skilled medical professional, health care would be easily dealt with by a few mouse clicks. I have no idea how all the googling in the world could lead you to determine hormone status or bc type but I can assure you that both hormone status and type involve biopsy samples (and Google does not do biopsies!). I understand your worry. Like most on bco, I've been there but treat yourself well and distract yourself in any way you can.

    Now, should you have bc, though not a happy thing, you never know what course it will take. Ten years ago I was dx'ed with stage IV that was essentially de novo. Today, I cleaned out my classroom and shut the lights for the last time because I have retired! When I was dx'ed I had no idea how I would do. But I lived notonly to retire but to see my youngest get married, become a grandmother and live a relatively normal life. My story is not typical but my point is no one has a crystal ball. My motto is and always has been “Don't put your foot in the grave before you have to." Take care

  • monarchandthemilkweed
    monarchandthemilkweed Member Posts: 149

    gamzu, i had my first biopsy at 31. I was pregnant and found a big lump in my armpit and when I went to get an ultrasound of my armpit they found another lump in my breast on the opposite side. Right then and there I had two core needle biopsies. That biopsy was a 4. Can’t remember if it was a, b, or c. The biopsy results indicates that I needed an excisional biopsy. I had that done while pregnant. It all turned out fine. Benign. It was a papilloma with a bunch of other benign stuff. The thing in my armpit was also benign. Years later I went on to have a birads 3 which was a watch and wait and imaging every 6 months. That one never changed and I went back to regular interval screenings. Then this March another core needle biopsy this time 4b. And that one turned out to be cancer. And now I’m here about a month after my bilateral masectomy. I tell you all of this cause birads 4 can truly go either way!

    The waiting is excruciating. I get it. Truly. I do.

    Try to do some things to help you process your feelings - journaling, walking, listening to music, yoga If you can process some of these things you might be able to eat and sleep some and that will help you cope better It’s hard to cope when you can’t eat and sleep. I battled terrible anxiety after my last baby was born and I couldn’t eat or sleep. I had to learn to cope with my anxiety and eventually I was able to eat and sleep again I did a lot of those things I mentioned. I also forced myself to stay in the moment when the anxiety was really bad. Asking myself what do I see? What do I hear? What do I feel? I learned the 4-7-8 breathing technique.

    Hang in there! You should have results soon!

    Please update when you can

  • MochiPie
    MochiPie Member Posts: 45

    gamzu, you and I are cut from the same cloth. I got to the end of google trying to predict what my chances were. Somehow I calculated they were about 20%, but I was wrong.

    I was in line at the supermarket when the call came in, and I could tell by the gentle voice on the other end that it was bad news. I abandoned my basket and left the store and hurried home to my husband and had a pen and paper in front of me. When I reached the breast imaging person, the rug was pulled out from under me.

    The one thing the imaging doctor said when she recommended a biopsy, and what I have actually found to be true, is that "you're going to be ok." Even if this is bad news, you will be ok. You will find a way to cope and grieve the life that you thought you were going to have and accept the life that you are going to have. That will take time and a support system, but you will be ok.

  • gamzu710
    gamzu710 Member Posts: 203

    Results in: atypical ductal hyperplasia. I got a referral to a surgeon for a consult and have an appointment the last week of June.

    At first I was relieved but now I'm reading about the statistics on ADH from a needle biopsy being upgraded to something worse on excision biopsy, especially when accompanied by suspicious imaging, and I'm not relieved anymore. But I have started the process of telling friends and family so the weight of secrecy is being lifted.

    I also have a follow-up with my PCP in a couple of weeks and I'm going to discuss strategies to address my anxiety with her. I am already slightly underweight and I lost 4 lbs. in the past week from stress killing my appetite and being in the bathroom 3x a day with nervous stomach. I don't think it will come as a surprise to her as at my very first appointment with her she ended up ordering an EKG to verify "white coat anxiety" as my resting pulse at check-in was over 120.

  • MochiPie
    MochiPie Member Posts: 45

    gamzu, thank you for updating us. I had a milder form of white coat syndrome and if you end up with a BC diagnosis, I can tell you that the immersion strategy of never-ending appointments may cure you. It cured me. I'm up to 32 needle sticks since October.

  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 677

    I am glad you are taking steps forward on both the anxiety and the ADH treatment! And I will say YAY, this is good news, and I celebrate for you even if you're not ready to feel it for yourself yet.

  • Calvin71
    Calvin71 Member Posts: 8

    why did you have chemo ? I see others that don’t with your stage .

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,453


    We have no quote reply feature so it is not clear who you are questioning. Stage alone doesn’t determine whether chemo is recommended. I am stage IV and I have never had chemo which is unusual but simply looking at someone’s stage in their signature line doesn’t mean that everyone at that stage receives the same tx. Take care.

  • gamzu710
    gamzu710 Member Posts: 203

    My biopsy report has been updated with a brief pathology addendum that says "Atypical ductal hyperplasia. Chronic periductal and perilobular inflammation. These results are concordant with imaging findings."

    The ADH I knew, but what does the chronic inflammation mean?

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301

    Good news overall gamzu! Not sure what the inflammation is referring to in your case... When my MRI results came back nearly double the size of the diagnostic mammogram my neurologist is the one who went over the MRI results - sounds kind of funny now though I happened to have an appointment with him soon after and I asked.... anyways, he said that increase in size could be inflammation which, at least in my case, he thought was a "not to worry...." Turns out the "extra" area was actually benign and precancerous issues most of which were of no concern.... Hopefully you'll be talking to your medical provider soon about where you go from here and can then ask about the inflammation...