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MRI for Right breast cancer showed mass in Left breast

hippmark Member Posts: 92

It's hard to believe that I am typing this. I have a 1.8 CM diagnosed breast cancer in right breast. Surgeon requested I get an MRI before surgery and I had that on Friday. Today, I got the following report:

There is an enhancing 0.4 x 0.4 x 0.4 cm focus/mass in the central left breast (46/series #8, 80/series #14), which appears somewhat unique to patient's background parenchymal enhancement.

There are scattered enhancing foci.

They found a small mass (looks like 4mm) in the LEFT breast. Marked as Category 4.

I am completely without words. I read that only 2% of breast cancers can be in both breasts at the same time. I had surgery scheduled for Dec. 23rd. Now my surgeon wants an MRI Biopsy of the left breast. Can't even get an MRI biopsy for 3 weeks due to insurance.

Most everything starts over again. Biopsy, waiting for results, another surgical appointment. It might still be benign, but no way of knowing. Maybe the Category 4 because my other was. I don't know.

I am so tired already. I've already been poked and prodded for 6 weeks now. I thought I was making progress.

Scared before. Terrified now.


  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,076

    Hipmark - my left breast was the one diagnosed but I opted for a bilateral mastectomy. I've always been glad I did since they found wonky stuff in the "good" breast during surgery. Hang in there. As others have told you, try to find things to distract your mind.

  • krose53
    krose53 Member Posts: 74

    Hi Hippmark, I understand your surprise. I had a 1.6 cm ILC in my left breat. After breast MRI they discovered 4 more lesions. Another one in my left breast and 2 in my R. I ended up with a .9cm IDC in my R breast and and 2 tiny 4 mm, one, in each breast. Also after being told all nodes looked great had 2 positive breast nodes in L arm and on in the R. Things happen. So of course I had a mastectomy. Wasn't willing to risk them missing any else. 4 years later, I'm doing great. Hang in there. It gets better.

  • krose53
    krose53 Member Posts: 74

    Hi Hippmark, I understand your surprise. I had a 1.6 cm ILC in my left breas. After breast MRI they discovered 4 more lesions. Another one in my left breast and 2 in my R. I ended up with a .9cm IDC in my R breast and and 2 tiny 4 mm, one, in each breast. Also after being told all nodes looked great had 2 positive breast nodes in L arm and on in the R. Things happen. So of course I had a mastectomy. Wasn't willing to risk them missing any else. 4 years later, I'm doing great. Hang in there. It gets better.

  • typhoon
    typhoon Member Posts: 59

    Hippmark - I had the same thing happen. I was diagnosed with IDC and DCIS in my left breast, and the post-diagnosis MRI revealed two additional areas of concern in my right breast. I was already scheduled for a unilateral mastectomy, and my surgeon's office pushed my insurance company to quickly approve an MRI-guided biopsy for the right breast. Long story short, I had IDC/DCIS in the right breast as well (very tiny tumors), so ended up having a bilateral mastectomy.

    I know it's upsetting and frustrating to face delays when you are already mentally and emotionally prepared for your upcoming surgery, and I'm so sorry that you are having to deal with all of this. I remember sitting there after getting the MRI results, thinking that my breasts were SERIOUSLY trying to kill me, either through cancer or by causing me to stroke out or have a heart attack from the stress. I think you will find that you are incredibly resilient. You will make it through this difficult and terrifying season, you will identify work-arounds where you can and will roll with the testing, poking, and prodding that you can't change, and you will come through to the other side of surgery and treatment. In three days it will be one year since my surgery, and as everyone else has told you, things will get much, much better. Hang in there.

  • FarAwayToo
    FarAwayToo Member Posts: 79

    I had the same exact sequence of events, even the sides are the same (invasive on the right, did MRI due to being on a trial, caught DCIS on the left). It was a blow, for sure. But it solidified my decision to do BMX.

    Also, this could be nothing, but without biopsy you won't know.

    Just looking at how many people responded with "me too", I don't think bilateral BC is THAT unusual. Doesn't make you feel any better, I know, but I found solace in thinking that had we not done the MRI, I could have ended up with undetected DCIS in my left breast becoming another invasive cancer.

  • blue22
    blue22 Member Posts: 172

    Hi Hippmark,

    I ended up having IBC (Inflammatory Breast Cancer) in my left and DCIS in my right. I understand your concern and frustration!

    I still have my right breast. I would prefer it is gone as well, but with IBC they tend not to do double mastectomy because healing and proceeding with radiation is critical.

    Hang in there!

  • hippmark
    hippmark Member Posts: 92

    Thank you everyone. It was as shock though. I keep trying to tell myself that it is better they found it now than after I had surgery and gone through chemo, etc. I'm trying to get my surgeons office to push the insurance company for a quicker MRI biopsy, but I believe he will need to move the surgery anyway. I keep riding the train down the track of "what's next." I thought I got off at one stop with a plan. Now I am back on the train.

    It looks like almost everyone went ahead with a double mastectomy. I am not in that place mentally right now. For many reasons, I feel like I still want to do lumpectomy the way I originally planned. It just complicates rads I believe as now I have something on the left near my heart. Thus, why I'm not seeing rads on anyone's post here. I would think this makes me even more susceptible to more tumors as it raises a higher risk profile of recurrance. It just complicates other choices now.

  • summerangel
    summerangel Member Posts: 182

    Statistically synchronous bilateral BC is rare, the 2% you mentioned is correct. I usually see 1% - 3% in studies, but this refers to invasive BC, which doesn't include DCIS/LCIS. Those of us with synchronous BC probably tend to stick around these boards longer. It was a huge shock to me as well, same situation only my left BC was found first. I intended, even after finding the second tumor, to get lumpectomies but both breasts had many "areas of concern", I have an autoimmune issue that could cause problems with rads, and the tumor board as well as all of the doctors I talked to strongly encouraged me to get a BMX instead. I don't regret it, but there is no reason you have to get a BMX if your breasts are relatively free of other problem areas and you're willing to do radiation. It's also helpful to know that bilateral BC is treated according to the worst tumor, so treatment won't change.

  • hippmark
    hippmark Member Posts: 92

    I truly appreciate your explanation SummerAngel. As of now, I do not know the profile of the Tumor. My other one is about 1/2 DCIS and 1/2 IDC. I could have had the one on my right for a few years and this one a much shorter time as it is "only" 4mm where the other is now 1.8CM So, I don't know if it truly is considered synchronous at this point.

    Right now, there does not seem to be other areas of concern in either breast. As far as radiation, I figured if I have to go through with chemo, I can do radiation. I might look at Proton therapy for the left breast with smaller tumor. Too early to tell all of that right now. I also have an autoimmune condition (Lupus) but I don't get skin conditions with it, so the Radio/Onc. said it should be fine. I love the word "should."

    I spoke with the surgeon's office today and was able to get a MRI Biopsy for Dec. 17. They said they will have the results around the 20/21. Just in time for surgery on the 23rd. Unless he sees something very different than what he is expecting, he plans to go ahead with surgery on the 23rd as I had already asked for a Lumpectomy. Am I making the right choice in not getting a double BMX? Who knows. I just know that my brain that is losing brain cells rapidly at this point is unable to process a double BMX at the moment. I have the utmost respect for those that go that route!

  • hippmark
    hippmark Member Posts: 92

    Thank you SummerAngel for your detailed information! I don't know if I have synchronous BC at the moment as I don't have the Biopsy for the other 4mm tumor. So it may or may not be.

    I was able to get an MRI Biopsy for Dec. 17 and the surgeon's office said that they should have it back around the 20/21. Just in time for the 23rd surgery. The plans are to extend the surgical time and do a Lumpectomy on the other side as well. Unless he sees something radically different than what he is expecting. Am I making the wrong choice not to go with a double BMX? I don't know. I just know that my brain, that is rapidly losing its cells at the moment, cannot make that choice to do a BMX. There does not seem to be other concerns at the moment with other areas in either breast. I think you have to make the best choices that you can at the time and if I am right or wrong, time will certainly tell.

  • typhoon
    typhoon Member Posts: 59

    Hippmark - Just to clarify, my reasons for a bilateral mastectomy were (in order of precedence):
    --my breast tissue was apparently enthusiastic about manufacturing cancer cells, so I wanted to shut down the factory as completely as possible;
    --doing lumpectomies on four completely separate areas would have been extremely disfiguring and would probably have required some sort of reconstruction;
    --because of the locations of my tumors, I was a good candidate for a skin & nipple sparing BMX, with direct-to-implant reconstruction - IOW, a one-and-done surgery, which appealed to me very much.

    I knew that chemo and radiation were still possibilities until after the surgical pathology was completed. Although I wasn't enthusiastic about getting radiation, avoiding it wasn't a significant factor in my decision making.

    There are a lot of competing priorities to consider, and a risk vs gain analysis to conduct that is specific to your situation. You'll need all the information you can get about what going on in both your breasts in order to make the most informed decisions. Wishing you all the best!

  • summerangel
    summerangel Member Posts: 182

    Another thing about getting lumpectomies is that you can always get a BMX later if necessary. Keep that in mind, it is a lot to process at once and if you've settled on lumpectomies at this point there's absolutely nothing wrong with sticking with that.

  • hippmark
    hippmark Member Posts: 92

    Yes, I agree with you 100%. If it comes back down the road, I can go with a single or double BMX later. Not that I value 2 surgeries at some point, but... I'm just not mentally prepared for a BMX right now. Thank you so much for your insight! Everyone has been a big help and I so appreciate it!

  • gamzu710
    gamzu710 Member Posts: 203

    I had a 4.5 cm "non mass enhancement" that was "clumped, segmental, asymmetric" found by MRI in the contralateral breast after my initial diagnosis, plus two more in the same breast as the cancer. All BIRADS 4, had to have MRI-guided biopsies on all 3. It dragged things out an additional 5 weeks due to scheduling, the MRI machine breaking, not being able to do them all at once, etc.

    All 3 sites came back benign. The 4.5 cm lesion ended up being PASH. The others were benign fibrocystic change and ductal ectasia. I had geared myself up for a BMX and was suddenly back to the original plan.

    I guess what I'm saying is, prepare yourself but MRIs are very sensitive and do have more false positives so don't get too far down the rabbit hole until you have all the information.

  • hippmark
    hippmark Member Posts: 92

    Thank you gamzu710. I could use any good news I can get right now. It hasn't been the case so far, but one can always hope!

  • ctmbsikia
    ctmbsikia Member Posts: 752

    Hippmark, so sorry you find yourself back on the train. Almost the same thing happened to me in the beginning. Once my left was diagnosed, had the MRI, which led to not 1 but 2 biopsies on the right. One was a fibroadenoma and the other LCIS. Then, the surgeon performed an excisional biopsy at the time of surgery and it was also LCIS. You will hopefully know more after biopsy, hope it remains small. I was OK choosing lumpectomy, and glad I still have breasts. It's a very personal decision. Best wishes to you.

  • hippmark
    hippmark Member Posts: 92

    I wanted to let everyone know that I received the MRI Biopsy today for the other breast and it was benign! It was a Fibrocystic change. It's a small victory that I will take right now! My surgery for the right breast is Thursday (23rd) with a Lumpectomy and then on from there. But at least I am only facing one Lumpectomy in one breast instead of two. Thank you all for your support!

  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 736

    Yay for some good news at last! Hoping that things keep turning up as sunny as possible

  • jbward46
    jbward46 Member Posts: 1

    I was diagnosed on Dec 24 with invasive ductal carcinoma on the Right breast. Had an MRI on 12/29 with "suspicious findings" for the Left breast. Had a biopsy of a lymph node on Right breast, tested positive for cancer. Each step seems worse than the one before it. I am scheduled for an MRI guided biopsy of the Left Breast and a PET scan this month. My primary care GYN has been wonderful. Calling me to discuss results. So far my experiences with medical care have been good but I am not looking forward to what is in store for me. Forunately I have a supportive family and some good friends.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,894

    JBWard46, we are sorry that your recent diagnosis has brought you here but glad that you found us, welcome! We know it's hard, specially at the beginning, but you're in good company here. Wishing you the best of luck with next tests and appointments. Please, come back to let us all know how you're doing and if you need any help at all while you navigate the boards.


    The Mods

  • hippmark
    hippmark Member Posts: 92

    Hi JBWard46, I completely understand your feelings. I also felt like I went through the proverbial wringer prior to my surgery on 12/23. So many tests and biopsies and waiting. My second MRI biopsy of the other breast did turn out to be a benign fiborcystic change. So there is hope that yours might be too. I certainly hope so. You are very lucky to have a good Doctor as well as a lot of support! That is so important. The MRI guided biopsy is a little different than what you probably had with your first. But since you have already been through one MRI, you know what to expect. Mine was not painful and was done fairly quickly. Wishing you all the best and let us know how it turns out. You have support on this board!