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Mammogram - recall severe anxiety and depression

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dori61
dori61 Member Posts: 8
edited March 17 in Not Diagnosed But Worried

I’m terrified ..I was recalled after my mammogram for the results below.. I’m going for a diagnostic mammogram/ultrasound .. can’t eat or sleep … I need information because Google has me in panic mode….any help would be appreciated… I’m 67 with dense breasts


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  • homemom
    homemom Member Posts: 830
    edited March 17
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    I don't think it's time to panic. It could be anything. Even biopsies have only a 20% chance of it being cancer. Having dense breasts make it even harder for them to "see" what's going on, so it sounds like they are erroring on the side of caution.

    I had something show up in an ultrasound in my surviving breast and they sent me for a biopsy. I told the surgeon to "just take it off" (my breast). She told there wasn't going to be a need for that by just looking at the image. I have dense breasts too. She did biopsy it, but told me not to worry, she was convinced it was nothing and was nothing. It was a fibroadenoma, which is a solid lump that is benign.

    You're not even at that point. Deal with what's in front of you only, and don't use Dr Google, he is always wrong,

  • dori61
    dori61 Member Posts: 8
    edited March 17
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    Homemom

    I never been through this… there are cancers in my family, but no breast as far as I know.. Google is the only reference I have, so I joined this forum to get some insight from ladies who have been through this. Nothing I read on the net is very helpful. I already have an anxiety disorder from other events in my life.. my breasts have been a bit different in size since menopause but my mammograms were always “ normal” they never said a word about any kind of asymmetry on either breast … I hope they tell me something. :( How are you doing? Are you cancer free ? You’ve been through a lot.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 5,080
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    I am going to reiterate what homemom said, you are very far away from having any reason to panic. Very few of us have been through any type of cancer dx before so again, not unusual and no need to panic. Lastly the vast majority of breast cancers have no genetic component. Mammogram call backs are also very common. Focus on what you know, which is very little at this point, as there is no point in speculating over things that will likely never happen.

  • dori61
    dori61 Member Posts: 8
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    exbrnxgrl when you go in for the diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound,, do they tell you what going on at that appointment? What is really making me a wreck is the report seems to indicate a developing asymmetry on my left breast… on my last mammogram in 6/22 asymmetry wasn’t mentioned on either breast at all… so much change in 20 months… I’m completely at a loss… Im feeling “ pain” in the left breast now, don’t know if its real or nerves. 😢

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 5,080
    edited March 17
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    I would guess that every imaging facility handles things differently. The people who do your mammograms are not radiologists so they cannot, do not, and should not tell you anything about your imaging as they are not qualified to do so. That means that the image is sent to a radiologist who interprets it. Once the radiologist compiles his report, the manner in which this is communicated to you can also differ. Some reports show up on patient portals quickly , others have doctors who call or see the patient to release the results. There is no one way or standard procedure for how results are given and none of us can guess how your facility handles it. I think this would be a great question to ask your own provider/facility.
    An asymmetry does merit noting and breast changes over one’s lifetime are not uncommon but asymmetry is not breast cancer! As far as pain goes, that could mean something or it could be nothing. Many, many bc patients never had pain but some do. Again, you are getting very, very far ahead of what you know and catastophizing a situation which is no where near a catastrophe. Stress is completely understandable in your situation but don’t add to it by imagining things which are not likely to happen. Take care

  • dori61
    dori61 Member Posts: 8
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    exbrnxgrl thank you so much for your reply.. I can only assume they want the extra tests because he called the image in my left breast a focal asymmetry that is larger then last scan.. even though it was never mentioned on my last mammogram. As you can tell I’m completely new and green about this. Not good for a 67 yr old… I was too focused on controlling my other issues. Ulcerative Colitis and anxiety.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 5,080
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    dori61,

    Yes, mammograms are compared to your prior imaging if available. Changes, virtually any change, merit additional imaging. That doesn’t mean that you have cancer, not even close! Having previous images to use as a comparison is a good thing so please know that this request for additional imaging is just to clarify things, though the chances of it not being cancer are excellent.

    Let me say lastly that even if you do have bc, chances are it was caught early. You would have to be stage IV (bc has moved beyond the breast) to even begin to worry about your demise as no one dies of stages 0-III. Please don’t expect to know a whole lot about the details of bc unless you’ve had some personal reason to. We are all green about most diseases, beyond the basics, until our lives are touched by them.

  • dori61
    dori61 Member Posts: 8
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    exbrnxgrl Thank you again.. I’ve been on estradiol vaginal creme for a couple of years due to vaginal atrophy,and I asked my gynecologist if that could have anything to do with these changes… she said no and to continue with the cream.. I’m not. I was always worried that any kind of hormones can cause bc. Sometimes you just don’t know… hopefully I’ll get some idea tomorrow what’s going on…

  • homemom
    homemom Member Posts: 830
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    I came in here 10 years ago for the same reason, only I had felt a lump. This is a great place for women who have been diagnosed, it has helped me so much to talk to others in the same spot, or who have gone down that path before me! In your situation, it's most likely nothing, but if it is, you'll be OK!

    I'm still in remission with no signs of disease. I've had a couple scares, but so far so good. Thank you for asking!

  • dori61
    dori61 Member Posts: 8
    edited March 20
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    Want to let everyone know, I went in for my diagnostic mammogram this morning, then the radiologist wanted me to have the ultrasound.. I was a mess when he still said he couldn’t tell.. after the. Ultrasound he called me in for a consult…

    the result Stage 2 benign.. its a simple cyst… to say I was thanking Jesus Mary and Joseph was an understatement.. thank you all so much for talking me through this… now it’s a part of my records.

    (Edited by Mods to remove user's personally identifiable information. We strongly recommend not posting personal information on a public forum, for your own privacy and security.)

  • orangeflower
    orangeflower Member Posts: 97
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    Try not to keep Googling. If you're doing it obsessively, you have to be firm with yourself and say NO.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 5,080
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    I’m so happy for your benign results! Hope you continue to work on your anxiety as the reality is that as we age, the potential for things going wrong increases. That being said, the odds were in your favor and no medical catastrophes are in the offing. This will be good to reflect on in the future. Take care

  • dori61
    dori61 Member Posts: 8
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    exbrnxgrl I’ve been dealing with chronic illness for 35 years… Ulcerative Colitis, Barrett’s esophagus, and the like, so this was just another battle I was stressed over because I’ve been in battles from my own body all these years.. chronic never goes away, ever. This scare put me over the top… regardless I sincerely appreciate anyone who took the time to bring me back to earth… especially you, because you kept encouraging me ❤️

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 195
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    That’s wonderful news @dori61! I’m so happy for you that you don’t need to address anything else right now, your “plate” seems full enough. Take care of yourself!!!

  • terabithia
    terabithia Member Posts: 6
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    Ladies, I am so glad that you are here for other women. I will see the breast surgeon for consultation Friday. It has been a waiting game since Feb. 21. Maybe I will get some answers, or maybe I will have to wait some more. Is there a way for a woman with dense breast tissue to avoid the trauma of a bad mammogram and inconclusive ultrasound? I don’t want to go through this ever year. This has happened twice to me in 14 years. I am 56. Thanks.

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 195
    edited March 24
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    Good morning @terabithia. I remember your other posts and I wanted to reply but was distracted with having surgery. I’m sorry you’ve had this long wait! That’s not good for the nerves.

    It’s a good question and I don’t know the answer … I too have dense breast tissue and am not sure how good mammograms and ultrasounds are with detecting what needs to be detected. Or how to avoid the anxiety and stress of getting called back for benign stuff. It seems like there are limitations to each type of imaging and we may need a combination of them. As an example, my cancer wasn’t seen on my yearly mammogram but I felt it a few months later and it stood out like a sore thumb! I’m not sure how visible it was on the diagnostic mammogram that was done at that time, I’ll have to ask, but it took the ultrasound technician a bit to find it (I had to point out the spot) but it was very obvious once she did. Even I could see it wasn’t just a cyst. She did find a smaller separate tumor with the ultrasound but said I didn’t need it biopsied, but I got a second opinion from a larger hospital with a breast care center and they wanted it biopsied, it was DCIS. I’m grateful for second opinions!!

    Perhaps technology will keep improving? I think being consistent and getting our imaging done yearly and just being familiar with the “landscape” of our breasts and questioning changes, not being shy about it, greatly improves our chances of detecting and understanding what’s what and catching anything early.

    I remember you asking if every oddity can be explained … I’d like that! Now I’m suspicious of every little lump and bump (and I’m pretty textured)! It’s a bit hard to trust other people with my breast health now, but I have to try, especially my breast surgeon. They do this every day and have seen a lot of cancers and benign stuff. I know they’ve learned to recognize the characteristics of each. I’m curious what your surgeon will recommend!! Ask these same questions of your surgeon, I think they’re good questions. We go to our dentists 2x a year, eye doctor 1x a year, maybe a dermatologist yearly also … and that’s all pretty straightforward, screening us for cancers and other things, so how can we improve our breast screening when we have dense breasts?!?

  • terabithia
    terabithia Member Posts: 6
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    Can I ask you and the other ladies a question? Is it common to feel a lot of breast sensations at 56? Is this a part of menopause? Thanks!

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 195
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    @terabithia I haven’t yet been through menopause (I’m 50) so I’m not sure.