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Found a lump in breast, had an appt. this morning. Freaking out.

rachelmchll Member Posts: 6
edited October 2022 in Not Diagnosed But Worried

Hi all, I would be grateful for some advice and encouragement if you're willing and able to offer it to me. I am 37 years old with no family history of breast cancer. Last night I was running my fingers across the top of my left breast and noticed a firm, tiny lump; probably about the size of a pea. Fortunately, my doctor had an opening this morning and she did an exam. She felt the lump I was referencing and immediately said that she didn't feel like it was anything concerning or alarming; that my lump is more soft and round (although to me it feels pretty firm, but what do I know) and cancerous lumps tend to be really hard and a bit rough around the edges. She believes it could be a cyst.

She then said that she wanted to put in a referral for an ultrasound just in case and it was at that point I lost it. Cue the waterworks. I have pretty bad medical anxiety anyway, so knowing that there's this thing going on in my body has me so upset and worried - even if she was fairly reassuring. I did get a call later in the day from the breast specialist facility and have my follow up in just over a week (which is going to be agony while waiting).

I guess my question is - is it normal to do an ultrasound even if the doctor isn't overly concerned? Is it normal to be referred to a breast specialist? I can't help but feel like "well she must be concerned enough that she ordered the ultrasound". And of course that thought causes me to spiral a bit. Maybe also, if you are currently diagnosed and if you found your lump, what did it feel like to you?

Any other thoughts or advice, I very much welcome them. Thank you in advance!



  • quietgirl
    quietgirl Member Posts: 164

    I think many time’s especially if they have no images on file now days they will send you for something. Even if they don’t think what you have is concerned it’s good to get images because it’s a point of reference say 6 months from now the lump seems different or reappears, they take another picture and are able to compare. The point of the breast specialist is similar to if you had a problem with your eyes you go to an eye doctor. It doesn’t mean you have a major problem it just means that the person who has the most medical knowledge in the area of concern is the person to do see.

    I’m not saying you are worrying for no reason no one can tell you that but I am saying that it sounds like your doctor is doing everything she can to make sure that you get all the information you need and that probably also to make sure if she is wrong you can help sooner rather than later

    hoping you get the all clear.

  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605
    Your doctor can only feel the lump, she can't see it. So it's totally normal to be sent for a scan with a breast specialist. They just want to get an inside look.

    Are you being treated for your anxiety? If not, also ask for help with that because it's a bigger problem than your breast lump right now, which is most likely benign. But you definitely have anxiety and that's treatable! If you aren't in treatment for that yet, maybe they can at least get you some temporary meds so you don't spiral all week waiting for the ultrasound.
  • rachelmchll
    rachelmchll Member Posts: 6

    Thank you for this and for your reassuring words! I really, really appreciate it. I've always struggled a bit with anxiety but it reached it's peak about 2 years ago when there was a question of my having leukemia (fortunately, after a bone marrow biopsy, it came back negative). That whole experience left me quite traumatized and I developed a pretty severe medical anxiety as a result. So the thought of going through a similar experience again (the question of is this cancer), has me physically sick - haven't been able to eat, crying a good bit. I think you are right though - I need to get some treatment for it because it is so hard to feel this way. I have basically diagnosed myself with everything under the sun the past two years and it's really had a major effect on my life.

    So yes, thank you - I really do need to get some help for it.

  • rachelmchll
    rachelmchll Member Posts: 6

    Thank you so much for responding and for validating that this is the normal protocol! It's really helped me calm down a bit. I was genuinely freaking out over the fact that I was being sent to a breast specialist when that is not what I was told would be happening this morning. I was just told that they would be referring me for an ultrasound. It made me think that things were worse than it really is, so I appreciate your insight.

    As a follow up question - I reviewed my doctor's notes from my appointment today and she made a comment that said "benign breast exam, referral and US ordered for added reassurance." I feel like that sounds good, right? As in, it doesn't seem like she seems alarmed by what she felt?

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192

    Rachel yes that is exactly how I would read those notes. Your physician has obviously factored in your response (you mentioned waterworks at your appointment) and is going the extra step to have you evaluated and cleared so you won't worry so much rather than wait a few months and check again. I hope you will follow the advice given here and spend that intervening week getting help for what sounds like a severe health anxiety. That doesn't sound like very much fun and it appears to have heavily impacted you for quite some time now. Sending you my best.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,924

    I get lumps here and there in my body and have had several ultrasounds. I find them, and other scans, reassuring rather than frightening. Maybe try to re-think your experience with that bone biopsy: you got GOOD news! That's a cause for celebrating, not freaking out or agonizing. Good luck with the ultrasound.

  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605

    Yes, that's good. She notes that it felt benign and she's only sending you for follow up because of your anxiety.

    So that's an excellent reason to get treated for anxiety. It's creating MORE unnecessary stress for you. Your doctor just thought she was helping you feel better but sending you for the ultrasound made you feel even worse about it. :(

  • purplecat
    purplecat Member Posts: 191

    Yes, it definitely sounds like the ultrasound is just for added reassurance for you. I think sometimes they set these things up for us thinking we’ll find it reassuring when it really just exacerbates the anxiety. It’s all very stressful, but it really sounds promising. Let us know how it goes

  • rachelmchll
    rachelmchll Member Posts: 6

    Hi all,

    I wanted to come back on here and provide an update. This past Monday I had my visit with the breast specialist. I was so nervous; I couldn’t contain my anxiety and it came out in tears - lots of tears! Fortunately everyone was nice and calming. I noticed as the week went on, my lump seemed to fade away - becoming softer and softer to the point where I could barely find it. I started to wonder if the lump was related to my cycle after all, but kept my appointment just in case. When I finally got in with the doctor, I explained that I couldn’t really feel the lump anymore but wanted to be safe than sorry. She said that was a great sign. She then did a hand exam on both of my breasts and said she didn't feel anything concerning.The nurse practitioner was there and also did an exam and she said no, I’m not feeling anything. She then used ultrasound on the spot where the lump was and she said “you’re all clear”! I was already crying but the tears really came at that point! She then said “you’re boring!” - as in it’s good to be boring since there’s nothing going on. I was elated. The appointment was very quick and in hindsight I wish I had thought to ask a few questions about what lumps really feel like and how to be prepared should this happen again in the future, but for now, I’m very relieved! If anything, this whole experience taught me that I need to get some help with my anxiety so that has definitely become one of my priorities

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 6,968

    Rachel, that's wonderful news! Thank you for posting and sharing!!


    The Mods

  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605
    Yay!!! Thanks for the update!

    Don't worry about what lumps feel like. Just do regular breast exams at different times of the month so you know what's normal for you. If something new pops up, you'll notice regardless of what it feels like. :)