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Focal Asymmetry - Feeling Anxious

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Hello all,

I am 8 years out from a stage 1 IDC diagnosis, and I don’t think about breast cancer much anymore. It took me a very long time to get to this point.

I do get nervous every year though as my annual mammogram gets nearer. I feel the stress and anxiety but have always been fortunate to have clear mammograms.

Unfortunately this time I have been recalled for further imaging to an area in my other breast and whilst I am trying not to let it consume me I am struggling.

I have been trying to research but not become obsessed. It’s hard. I have to wait 3 more weeks for the second round of imaging.

My report states -

There is a small focal asymmetry in the mid breast in the superior half of the medio-lateral projection of the right breast. Patient requires additional imaging.

My question is should I be preparing that this is likely another cancer or is there a good chance this could be benign? I don’t want to spend too much time googling as it is rarely helpful.

I would truly appreciate any insights or information that would be helpful to my understanding.

Thank you for your time.

Comments

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,081
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    Hi @lavenderskies , I'm sorry that you got a callback for additional imaging. Focal asymmetry is most often but not always benign. The additional imaging will clear you, put you on a more frequent follow up schedule or trigger a biopsy. Biopsies may or may not have benign results and are the only way of making a definite diagnosis.

    Unfortunately the risk of recurrence is something we all have to live with. That fear does fade into the background over time as it should but if something does turn up we have to go through that same period of uncertainty again. You are right that googling is not helpful and trying to deduce the answer from radiology reports is futile. Try to stay busy, hope for the best and realize that you will be able to deal with whatever happens. Let us know how it goes. All the best for good results!

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 5,072
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    What Maggie said! I also want to add that no one, not even a radiologist, can tell you if you should be preparing for another cancer at this point (really!). If they could, then you wouldn’t need more imaging.

    We all know that waiting is very difficult so try to keep busy and time will pass. Take care

  • lavenderskies
    lavenderskies Member Posts: 4
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    @maggie15 @exbrnxgrl

    Thank you for your replies. I know it could go either way. Just feel I don’t have the mental energy to go through this process again.

    I keep looking over the report and wondering if where it says medio-lateral projection means the asymmetry was just seen in one view which would be more favourable. Does anyone have any insight into if this is what it means?

    Thank you.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,081
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    You are correct in assuming that specifically mentioning the medio-lateral projection means the asymmetry was just seen in one view. It could have something to do with how your breast was positioned by the tech. They will probably redo that view and take additional views at your recall appointment.

  • lavenderskies
    lavenderskies Member Posts: 4
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    @maggie15 thank you for your quick reply and clarification. I am going to try and hold onto that as being a positive aspect and hopefully that will get me through for now. I just wish I didn’t have to wait for another 3 weeks for more imaging. Seems a long time.

  • lavenderskies
    lavenderskies Member Posts: 4
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    I just need to vent, I am very teary today and very down. I tried to get my recall mammogram earlier but couldn’t, 3 more weeks to wait due to lack of staff.

    We are due to go on a family vacation mid August, I am scared if I need a biopsy I won’t be able to get that done before vacation and I don’t want to have to cancel or ruin anyone’s vacation. My children don’t know what’s going on. Trying to keep it from them. My mind is racing. The wait is taking its toll.

    When I was diagnosed 8 years ago I fell into depression and right now I feel a sense of doom with a black hole.

    I am researching and trying to find positivity that this could be nothing but with a previous cancer diagnosis and this asymmetry that wasn’t there last year I am convinced this will be a negative outcome. I was trying to clutch to the fact that it looks like the asymmetry is only in one view but recently read that this could just be because it is obscured on the other view. I had a breast reduction on this side 5 years ago so to match more equally with my affected breast and was trying to find out if this could be the reason but it was 5 years ago and I am sure the change would have been seen before. My breasts are now density A, mostly fatty, and have been this way for a couple of years and so this new asymmetry concerns me more. I also had a tattoo on my right lower arm since my last mammo and was thinking maybe this was the reason for the asymmetry but cannot find any evidence for that as no calcifications were seen.

    I feel I am at a pity party for one. I don’t want to get consumed but it’s pulling me down further.

    I just needed to get that out. Deep breaths.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,081
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    I’m sorry that you were unable to get an earlier appointment. If you need a biopsy and it can’t be done before your vacation schedule it for right after you return. A delay of a couple of weeks won’t make much of a difference. I had to wait an extra six weeks for surgery after I was diagnosed since I was on IV antibiotics for a jawbone infection; they wouldn’t operate until the infection was cleared.

    It is a stressful situation to be in. Virtual hugs for you.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,287
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    Yes, sending big hugs to you @lavenderskies. We know the waiting is torture. Try to be gentle with yourself and focus on your family. We're all sending you the best!

    —The Mods