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6th biopsy since 2021

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I had abnormal mammograms starting in 2020 but at first was just checked every 6 months with ultrasound and mammograms.

I first had an ultrasound biopsy and then a stereotactic one for a lump in my right breast. They found a radial sclerosing lesion that required an excisional biopsy. For complicated reasons I had to change from a breast center in a moderate sized city to a large city breast center and the surgeon there found something else she wanted biopsied (stereotactic) before my surgical biopsy. So that was done and a fibroadenoma was found and then I had my surgery.

My surgery found ALH. I was referred to the high risk breast center at the large hospital. I was told I had a 33% chance of getting breast cancer in the next 10 years and a 40% chance lifetime.I had genetic testing which was negative. It was recommended I have MRIs and mammograms alternating every 6 months and a provider visit for breast exams. I've been doing that for a year now. The first one was in Nov. 2022 and I had to have an ultrasound guided biopsy of my left breast which until then had behaved. In May I finally didn't need a biopsy.

I went last week and while I got the good news that my MRI is stable enough that I finally don't have to have another for a year my mammogram showed an increase in microcalcifications they had been watching. So I have another stereotactic biopsy scheduled for the 27th.

I'm so frustrated and scared. My doctor assures me that having a lot of biopsies doesn't increase my risk of cancer but it's nerve-wracking waiting to hear that this time they found something.

The microcalcifications are also making me anxious. I'm used to lumps.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom? I'm sorry this is long.

Comments

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,007
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    Hi @rainbowmouse , I'm sorry you have had to undergo six biopsies and all the stress that comes with them. However, it appears that you are receiving excellent care. Radial scars / sclerosing lesions mean that the environment in which they occur is favorable for breast cancer even though they are benign. A biopsy is the only way to tell so that's why it is done. It's possible that the calcifications could signify something but only a biopsy can give a definitive answer. Even if something is found it would most likely be at an early, easily treatable stage.

    Two and a half years before my only biopsy my mammogram showed architectural distortion most likely caused by a radial scar. You can see how just having annual screening mammograms turned out for me in my diagnosis line. My imaging was done at a small rural hospital and it seems their protocol was not up to date.

    There is still a good probability that your upcoming biopsy will be benign. Here's hoping for good results!

  • rainbowmouse
    rainbowmouse Member Posts: 5
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    Thanks Maggie15.

    I started out in a small town hospital but was fortunate enough to be sent to a breast center once they were sure they had found something. I was with that breast center for about 15 months before being referred to the big city hospital where I go now. I get anxious that my mom is going to the local place even though she's fine and would immediately go to a breast center if they found anything.

    It looks like they are doing this because microcalcifications are sometimes related to ALH. So I'll just be praying that they don't find any because if they do I'm pretty sure that would be another excisional biopsy.

    I guess it is what it is.

  • pinkrules
    pinkrules Member Posts: 97
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    My words of wisdom would be to not worry until the final results are in. I know this is very hard to do but I've learned to rest my mind and enjoy life one day at a time. Best of luck!

  • tonicowgirl2023
    tonicowgirl2023 Member Posts: 1
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    Does the presence of calcification in the breast make it necessary for biopsy?

    I have had two mammograms showing calcification but no one will explain the type or numbers. I viewed the scan myself and looked at the previous and no change was evident. My doctor is insisting I have a needle biopsy. The invasive testing scares me more than the risk of cancer. I am terrified of needles and invasive procedures . What I have read I dictates very low risk.

    What is the risk to wait another 6 months for another mammogram?

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,219
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    @tonicowgirl2023, welcome to our community! We're sorry you're dealing with this worry. We're not medical professionals, but we can offer some general information, hope it helps!

    As you can read in our article Understanding Breast Calcifications, the presence of calcifications in the breast does not always indicate cancer. However, certain types of calcifications may raise concerns and prompt further evaluation. The decision for a biopsy is often based on factors like the pattern, size, and characteristics of the calcifications. We understand that the idea of a biopsy can be frightening. Maybe it would be helpful to have an open conversation with your doctor about it. He/she can provide more details about why they're recommending the biopsy or additional information that might ease your anxiety.

    @rainbowmouse, how are you doing? How was your biopsy? We can imagine this waiting period for results is tough, but remember we're here for you, and we wish you positive vibes for the best outcome.

    The Mods

  • pinkrules
    pinkrules Member Posts: 97
    edited December 2023
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    Tonicowgirl, please don't wait another six months, it's six more months of worrying! Honestly, a needle biopsy is not invasive surgery! I had one, its painless and quick. I think it took about 20 minutes for mine but that's because they took images before the biopsy. Everyone was so wonderful and kind. My doctor gave me a sedative at my request. It helped the anxiety although I worried for nothing. Ask your doctor for that magic pill! They numb the area, all you feel when the needle go in is a little bit of pressure and then nothing. I had the MRI needle biopsy where you lay on your stomach. There's also the ultrasound biopsy. Please go forward, if your doctor ordered it, listen to him/her. There's a high percentage it is not cancer and you can then relax and be glad it's over. Good luck and please keep us updated.

  • cookie54
    cookie54 Member Posts: 722
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    @rainbowmouse Sorry you are going through multiple biopsies, I totally understand as I lived this for 9 years! Before I was diagnosed I was also doing alternating mammo/mri every 6 months due to calcifications that turned out to be ADH found on my first biopsy . I had 8 biopsies over the 9 years and I also was sick of it!

    Calcifications can be a precursor to breast cancer but NOT always. As said in the article above the characteristics of the calcifications play a big part in things. As scary and stressful as it can be its extremely important. Year nine turned out to be my diagnosis year.

    The way I dealt with it all is that I was being followed so closely I knew if and when I was diagnosed it would most likely to be early stage. My initial diagnosis was Stage 1 and I believe being vigilant played a big part. I'm glad to hear you are with a reputable hospital receiving great care. Sending good vibes, strength and well wishes. Hugs.

    @tonicowgirl2023 Just want to echo what @pinkrules said, the risk outweighs the measure on this. We never want to put ourselves in the position where we are saying " should have, could have". It's not something that any of us enjoy doing but it is necessary, especially if being recommended. As said above you will be nice and numb ,plus can also also take meds to relax you. None of us have a crystal ball as to what 6 months of delay can do. Except to say there are some slow growers and some quick growers and benign. It's highly likely that 6 months from now if calcs still look suspicious it will be recommended again. So to me unless your willing to say that you will never have a biopsy give yourself the peace of mind today! Sending you strength and peace with your decision. Hugs.