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Visible changes and waiting on a mammogram

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I'm 51, post-menopause, and have had a mammogram annually since 2020. In Dec. 2020 I had a biopsy on the right breast, it came back negative. (Yay.)

This summer, the left nipple became inverted. I was dealing with other medical issues, so put off going to a doctor about that specific one. Now a doctor has seen it, and also mentioned the hardness of the breast tissue in a large area above it. She thought I should get a mammogram right away. A requisition's been sent. The waiting begins now.

I'm in Ontario, and wait times for mammograms in my area have apparently worsened since 2020. The waiting for my past ones was about a month from sending in a requisition. No idea how long this will be, even with an identified problem.

I don't have a great feeling about it, seeing the difference in the mirror. But, all I can do is wait for tests to be done.

So a year since the last mammogram, and that found nothing… odds of this being a benign condition? Argh.

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  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,279
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    @doodler, welcome to BC.org! While we're sorry to see you here and waiting, you've come to a wonderful, supportive place.

    It is important to keep in mind that numerous benign conditions look like cancer, but they are not. Until other members post with their own experiences and support, the article What Mammograms Show: Cysts, Calcifications, Fibroadenomas describes some of the benign results that can come from testing. Hope this helps ease your mind while you wait for your appointment.

    Best wishes, and keep us posted!

    The Mods

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 195
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    Hi @doodler. I’m so sorry for your worry!!! I hope you don’t have to wait too long for your mammogram. As you know from your own experience, there are a number of benign conditions that look concerning enough to biopsy yet turn out to be benign, so there’s a chance it’s ok. I wish we could all reassure you it’s probably nothing but only the testing will give you that assurance. Hang in there while waiting!!’

  • doodler
    doodler Member Posts: 38
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    Hello again… got a call back after the first mammogram, then a biopsy, which was this past Friday. Waiting on the biopsy results now.

    I'm not sure if I want them before the holidays or after! But I do know from the mammogram reports that it is Birads 5. So it is looking like IDC. There appears to be lymph node involvement, the biopsy included a lymph node.

    I was told I'll probably hear from a surgeon next. So 2024 will be a rollercoaster.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,279
    edited December 2023
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    @doodler, thanks for the update. A wait for biopsy results can be so stressful, and it's completely normal to have mixed feelings about it. Please feel free to reach out whenever you need to vent. And remember that no matter what happens, this supportive community will be here for you! Good luck!

    The Mods

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 195
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    Hello @doodler. I’m sorry. These past weeks must have been challenging … I know you have had a feeling all along that this might be something. With Bi-rads 5 it probably is. I’ll be thinking of you. It sort of is a crazy “rollercoaster ride” at first after getting a diagnosis.

    Ask any questions here (big or small) … there are some amazing people in this online community who have lived it and have gained so much wisdom … and thankfully they are willing to share it!

  • doodler
    doodler Member Posts: 38
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    Thanks so much @needs.a.nap — I have an appointment with a surgeon now for January 2. So things are moving along. There's no report in the patient portal for me to peek at, which is probably for the best, but I have no idea how the discussion will go with the surgeon.

    In the meantime, I'm educating myself, reading older threads here off and on, and also trying to balance that with a few days off work and a bit of holiday relaxation.

    It's hard to prepare for the surgeon appointment when I don't know what I will hear. But if anyone can chime in with questions worth asking the surgeon, that would be very much appreciated!

  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 422
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    If you do get a diagnosis then I would ask these things.

    1. What is the grade
    2. What are the hormone receptors and what intensity and percentage are they
    3. How large do they estimate the lump
    4. How do the lymph nodes appear
    5. Any LVI detected thus far?
    6. What is their best estimate for treatment at the moment.

    Remember though that all of this will be an estimate until the pathology results come in from surgery. But it's good to have an idea what you might be facing so it's still worth asking. Good luck and try to have a lovely Christmas even in the midst of this uncertainty. Remember breast cancer is common and very curable for most of us. Still scary of course but this is a common cancer and as a result has a plethora of excellent treatments.