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High Anxiety

Lulubelle1 Member Posts: 5
edited February 2023 in Waiting for Test Results

I am a little over 8 years from my lumpectomy and almost 8 years from radiation for IDC. I was on Tamoxifen for about 15 months when I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. After a complete hysterectomy including ovaries etc. I was switched to Anastrozole. I took that for six years and have been off for a little over a year. I usually have diagnostic mammograms each year. But this year I thought I would be brave and go for a screening mammogram. Had that last Monday. I got a birads 0 for calcifications noted in the central region of the sameright breast where I had breast cancer. I immediately went into panic mode. Have to wait two weeks for my diagnostic mammogram.

I have high anxiety and all the previous biopsies have resulted in bad news. Has anyone faced a similar experience and could share their experience. I understand I am a high risk for breast cancer after having it once. I just don’t know if my 64 year old breast would now show up with calcifications this year and it would be benign. I am grateful the radiologists are doing what they are doing. Are they extra cautious with us having a previous diagnosis?

I have been either crying or nervous this entire past week.


  • sunshine99
    sunshine99 Member Posts: 2,463

    lulubelle1, I'm so sorry you're worried. A BIRADS score of 0 is a good thing and it sounds like they don't suspect anything. I believe they would have given you a higher BIRADS score if they were concerned.

    I'm sure others will add to this. I won't tell you to "relax and calm down" because that won't help. Your anxiety is understandable. I hope you get your tests done and results back quickly.



  • cookie54
    cookie54 Member Posts: 608

    Hi lulubelle, I'm sorry we all know how stressful all this is! I agree with Carol, the radiologist would typically give it more than a zero if it was suspicious. Calcifications are very common and yes even at your age, actually more prevalent after 50. So it depends on how the calcs apppear, size, clustering and patterns all give the radiologist clues to help them decide if they are concerning. Overall most calcs are benign. If they want to take a closer look they will do spot compression magnification views with your mammo to get a closer look.

    I know it's hard not to panic, I totally understand! Remain hopeful and positive that these will be benign. We can't change what is there but we can try to change the way we handle it. Big hugs.


  • Lulubelle1
    Lulubelle1 Member Posts: 5

    Thanks cookie54 and sunshine99. As I have gotten further from treatment, I don't see doctors as much as I did before and that can sometimes be lonely when my panic mode sets in. Two previous cancers has been a lot for my worrying nature, and now this. I think going forward I am going back to diagnostic mammograms. Obviously this time two images of each breast wasn’t enough. Getting called back unless I can immediately get an appointment is a bit too much stress. I have always told my family that I worry so others don’t need to

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,933

    lulubelle1, I had endometrial cancer in 2008, and both breast and kidney cancer in 2018. The scan that found the kidney cancer also found an aneurysm. I get all kinds of scans, less frequently as time passes, but still at least annually. My way of looking at those tests and scans is that they're preventive maintenance. IF something shows up, it means it got caught early and can be dealt with right away. It's like automotive maintenance to catch the little things before they turn into big problems!

  • purplecat
    purplecat Member Posts: 221

    Lulubelle, it looks like we had a similar diagnosis and treatment, although you're a few years ahead of me. This past year has brought me quite a lot of drama with my treated breast. I had obvious changes/calcifications/diagnostic mammogram/ultrasound/biopsy of my scar area in May. Then my annual MRI in October found two additional spots near the scar that they decided needed to be checked out, and I had to wait nearly a month for that biopsy. 2 procedures on 3 spots in less than 6 months, and all they've been able to find is about 5 different kinds of scar tissue. Here's what I've learned through all of this:

    Changes can definitely happen even years after surgery/radiation. Both the technician and the radiologist for my May imaging were very reassuring that the biopsy they were recommending was for due diligence, not for any real suspicion of cancer. My impression was that they see this sort of thing all the time, and when I specifically asked "even 3 1/2 years after treatment?" I got a firm "yes." So, I think there's a good chance you could be looking at something very common and normal for the treatment you've had.

    This will never not be scary. In May, I was as as sure as I could be that the biopsy would be good news, but I still found myself back in that very dark place of waiting. In October I logically knew that the MRI-discovered spots were likely just more scar tissue, as we had so recently proved that there were indeed scarring processes going on. But the month-long wait for the biopsy was as torturous as anything I'd ever experienced since my original diagnosis, and I ended up asking for a Xanax prescription. This past week I did what you did: decided to be brave and get a normal mammogram instead of my usual diagnostic. I thought the anxiety of waiting would be less since, after all, I so recently had a clear MRI. Nope. I'll never do it this way again. It's been 3 tense jumpy hair-trigger days of waiting for the phone to ring. Since it hasn't, I'm concluding that they didn't find anything of interest, but I won't know for sure until I get a letter in the mail some time next week. Looking at MyChart is way to anxiety provoking. All this to say … of course you are nervous and crying and anxious, especially with a 2 week wait.

    Therapy is helpful. I struggled with PTSD symptoms after my May scare, and found a therapist who had some specialization with cancer survivors. I may never be at a point where I can calmly wait for results, but at least the sound of a ringing phone no longer sends me back to that dark place.

    Just a story of someone with similar circumstances who has turned out to be OK. I hope they can get you in sooner and that the news is good!

  • Lulubelle1
    Lulubelle1 Member Posts: 5

    Thanks alicebastable and purplecat for your comments. I probably should seek out some counseling. This constant anxiety can’t be good for me.

  • mamasha
    mamasha Member Posts: 10


    How did you make out?
    Exact same thing happened to me Wednesday. I have a diagnostic on 2/21
    It’s been 6 years ugh and now it seems like yesterday
    I want to cry constantly but don’t not to scare my family. I guess I just have to get by the long weekend but it’s going to be tough
    I wish you well
  • Lulubelle1
    Lulubelle1 Member Posts: 5

    Mamasha, my diagnostic mammogram showed an oil cyst with some rim calcifications that were benign. It also noted some other calcifications that haven’t changed since 2016 so those appear to be benign. I hugged the technician who handed me the results. My nephew is a radiologist and he thought the results sounded like common artifacts from my previous biopsy, lumpectomy and radiation. I am going back to diagnostic mammograms since I can’t handle the stress associated with screening mammograms. Those two weeks between the mammograms were agonizing. Hang in there and I hope you get good news.

  • mamasha
    mamasha Member Posts: 10

    I’m so happy for your wonderful news.

    My report said questionable calcifications in lumpectomy bed birads 0 I’m so nervous I can see the images on portal( I think I can see what they saw but don’t know what it is. I’m secretly crying inside because I don’t want to scare my family but I’m so nervous. Thanks so much for replying and telling us maybe like you it will be nothing

  • Lulubelle1
    Lulubelle1 Member Posts: 5

    mamasha, for the call back mammogram they did a spot compression. I would assume this allowed the radiologist to see the calcifications better than the screening images. My radiologist nephew mentioned they often need the extra magnification to determine if the calcifications are benign. Usually this is enough but if they still can’t tell they order a biopsy. I too didn’t want to tell my family. I did tell my husband but not my kids and sister. I kept trying to convince myself everything was fine but my crazy mind still kept my heart rate and blood pressure elevated for the two weeks of waiting.