Topic: Lump & Pain but nothing on Ultrasound?

Forum: Young With Breast Cancer — Connect with those under 40 who have been diagnosed.

Posted on: Jan 21, 2014 07:12AM

Posted on: Jan 21, 2014 07:12AM

Keeping_Abreast wrote:

Hello everyone, I'm not sure if this belongs here as I have not been diagnosed, but I saw many of you had trouble getting doctors to take you seriously. I'm looking for any type of advice on how to proceed with them

I'm 25 now, but almost two years ago, I found a hard vertical lump in my right breast. I didn't realize I still had insurance through my parents at the time, so I just did my best to ignore it (it has been painful on and off). Recently within the last 6 months it seems to have gotten bigger (about 2 inches long now, maybe half an inch wide) and has been consistently painful (no matter what time of the month) to the point where I can't lift my arm, and even cuddling with my partner leaves me in tears. I would describe the majority of the pain as a constant burning, and then often it is stabbing and sharp from the lump area, to my nipple, to my bicep, sometimes my left breast gets the stabbing now. I started doing some research and somewhere found that I was still covered under my parents' insurance until I turned 26. Great, I have six months left! 

So I made an appt with my family doctor back in my hometown 2hrs away last Monday (1/13). He felt my lump and knew right away it wasn't normal, told me it was probably a fibroadenoma, and sent me for an ultrasound just to be sure. I went in for the imaging the 15th. The tech (nurse? I'm not sure what her title was) spent about 5 minutes silently gliding the wand over me (felt like my lump was being run over by a truck each time, I was so sore). Then she left the room to go show the images to the doctor. He came in about 20 minutes later and told me it wasn't cancer, and that actually everything looked normal and they couldn't find anything. He then had me point to the lump and spent about 30 seconds doing the ultrasound himself, to tell me again, there is nothing there. He never once felt my lump for himself. He then told me it would go away in a few weeks and gave me a sheet of paper about PMS boob symptoms and a list of recommendations. I was starting to get choked up at this point because I was grateful it wasn't cancer, but now this pain is just nothing? how do you fix that? I told him I've had the lump for two years, it's never gone away, and it's gotten extremely painful lately. He verbatim said, "Wow.. well, just keep monitoring it," shook my hand, and left. That was all I got to say to him.

I have never been on birth control pills, I very rarely drink coffee or soda, and I'm not much of a chocolate eater (these were causes listed on the sheet he gave me that would make my symptoms worse). The paper also had this to say about breast pain: "Breast discomfort is often more apparent approximately two weeks before a menstrual period..." Oh gee! Thanks for letting me know! Except I'm a 25 year old woman, not a prepubescent girl learning about my body changes for the first time. My breast soreness from PMS is completely different from the everyday burning, sharp, pains. My breasts are also lumpy when I'm on my period, like little pebbles, but this lump I'm referring to is large and relatively smooth.

With that being said, my first question: I was/am PMSing, would the fact that my breasts are swollen change or hide anything on the ultrasound?

A day later I got a call from my doctor's office, (wasn't even my doctor himself) telling me that it was not cancer. I told the woman I think I'm going to get more imaging done here in my current city, and she said she'd have to ASK my doctor (say what?!). Fast forward to today, after nearly 3 hours on the phone, going back and forth with my family doctor, the ultrasound office, and a new women's center, I finally get permission for an additional ultrasound with a breast specialist in two weeks.

Second question: The ultrasound unit would not send my ultrasounds to me, is this normal?

So if you've made it this far, does it sound like I'm headed in the right direction? If this new ultrasound comes up normal again, what should I do? Even fibroadenomas should show up on ultrasounds. I just don't understand what this huge lump is if nothing is showing up? I have B cups so the lump is hard to miss when you're feeling for it, I'm even starting to be able to see it when I stand sideways.  I've also read that most breast cancers aren't painful, and then some articles say many types are, did/has anyone experienced pain like this? And finally, should I be pushing for a biopsy yet? I think the most difficult thing for me right now is everything is out of my control and I just don't know how to deal with the bureaucracy and politics of health care. I was completely unaware that I would need (and have to wait to get) my doctor's permission to do anything more. So much for autonomy. Anyways... any information, anecdotes, and/or advice is welcome, and thank you in advance! Stay strong beautiful ladies!

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Feb 12, 2014 02:59AM NeedingHelp wrote:

I have identical symptoms. I am 25 years old. My lump is 2cm, i also have B cups and the pain you describe is exactly me. Ultrasound also didnt pick mine up.

Did you ever find out what your lump was?

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Feb 21, 2014 10:46AM Kaitlyn0130 wrote:

I also have the same thing. I'm 20 years old. I just went for an ultra sound today and the same thing happened to me. The nurse spent time looking at my whole breast, then left. Came back and focused on the area of the lump. Then the doctor came in and spent time looking at the lump. They told me they didn't see anything and I could see a breast specialist or surgeon if I wanted to. Other boards said an MRI could be helpful. I scheduled an appointment with a specialist for Monday. I hope you guys are doing well and I hope to hear back about your process. 

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Feb 21, 2014 12:25PM LaVieEnRose wrote:

I'm a little different in that I didn't have a lump or pain, but mine never showed up on ultrasound either.  I had multiple ultrasounds by techs, a radiologist, and a breast surgeon, and none of them could see it.  It didn't even show up on a regular mammogram, only a 3D one.  Finally after the 3D mammogram they got authorization for an MRI, which then led them to do a biopsy.  I'm 30 years old.  It was tough getting authorizations from insurance to cover it all, I think mainly due to my age, but in the end it was worth fighting with them because it ended up being cancerous.

I sincerely hope yours is benign like they say, but the only way to know for absolutely certain is with a biopsy.  It would make me feel uncomfortable with the cavalier interpretation they gave you based on what limited information they have so far.  I would continue getting further opinions from other specialists and push to have them order at least an MRI or thermogram.  

I saw a breast surgeon long before I ended up seeing an oncologist, and the surgeon is the one who really fought in my corner to get all that testing done.  I just want to put that out there so you know that you can see several types of docs - and contrary to popular belief, not all surgeons are quick to want to do surgery.  ;)  She definitely did not want it to come back as a malignancy and wasn't jumping to schedule me for surgery.  

Dx 1/2014, DCIS, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/29/2014 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Feb 22, 2014 12:23AM Keeping_Abreast wrote:

Hi ladies, thank you for sharing, and despite the reasons we're here, I'm glad I'm not the only one. I went in for my second ultrasound (at a larger women's hospital in my current city) February 5th. Again, nothing. The two women who performed the ultrasound were at least somewhat more compassionate. However, one asked me, "where do you THINK this lump is?" Well, I KNOW it is right here, and then they both felt it, so after assuring her I wasn't imagining this lump, she said it is "probably just a ridge of breast tissue". They told me to take ibuprofen when it hurts... I told them I've tried nearly everything in these last two years to make the pains stop. All they could say was sorry for your discomfort. I went home defeated and frustrated, and decided to give up then because I couldn't afford to keep throwing $150 at tests that were just making me crazy.

A couple days later, I went to a small acoustic show with my girlfriend. I felt fine all night, had eaten just before, and then all of a sudden I lost my vision and hearing, and my knees hit the floor. That's the last thing I remember. My girlfriend said she picked me up and a guy helped carry me outside, but I was out for a solid two minutes at least, shallow to no breathing. My girlfriend made me go to the hospital where they kept me overnight, ran a bunch of tests, couldn't find anything wrong, except that my heart rate wouldn't drop under 110, even as they discharged me. 

I doubt if this incident is related at all (it's happened in the past, just not as bad), but now that I'll most likely have a new enormous medical bill, I've decided that I might as well try to get my lump further checked out. I have no idea how much an MRI or biopsy will cost, but might as well tack it on with my other expenses at this point, right? I'm trying to laugh about it all now, but I do think it might have been my body trying to tell me something is wrong, or I'm stressed at least. Or maybe I am just crazy. Either way, I have found a new PCP in my current city, and hopefully I can talk to him about seeing a breast surgeon, as that seems to be the next step.

Please post any updates you girls might have!

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Feb 25, 2014 02:48AM NeedingHelp wrote:

I am scheduled to see a surgeon on Friday. Don't know if he will perform a biopsy there and then. I hope so.

Is your lump still painful? I have identical symptoms and also 25. You are welcome to pm me :-)

I hope and pray we all receive B9 results

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Mar 10, 2014 07:27AM Keeping_Abreast wrote:

Yes, my lump is still painful. I've been trying to keep a log of when I get the sharp, stabbing pains to see if something I'm doing or eating is triggering it, but I haven't noticed a pattern. I went in to see my new PCP the other day and he was absolutely wonderful (and super cute ;] ). He was shocked that neither imaging center referred me to a breast surgeon so he hooked me up with one right away. He also said he felt another lump off to the side so I'll be calling the surgeon today to set up an appointment. As we were talking, we might have actually connected my fainting issue to my lump as well. Doctor thinks my high heart rate lately (and past episodes) could be caused by my thyroid overacting (hyperthyroidism) which leads to an increase in hormones, so it could be affecting my breast tissue. Just a theory of course, and we're still waiting on lab results, but it is interesting how different systems of the body are connected!

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Mar 12, 2014 03:02AM NeedingHelp wrote:

Have you made an appointment yet? Im seeing the surgeon this Friday.... Was supposed to see him that time ago but he never showed up!

How large is your lump? I hope for B9 results for the both of us

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Mar 12, 2014 03:16AM NeedingHelp wrote:

Oh i see you mention the size. Mine i would say is identical to yours. Long (2 inches) and across about an inch. It is hard, but if i touch it it does move. The pain that you described is identical to what i am experiencing. Im 25 too..

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Mar 28, 2014 03:21PM Keeping_Abreast wrote:

I finally had my appointment with the breast surgeon the other day. I was almost turned away at the door because the place where I'd had my last US done wouldn't release the images to them, and the receptionist acted like it was my fault. She kept telling me it would be a waste of time to see the surgeon, which made me upset. I'm pretty sure the only reason I even got to speak to the surgeon was because one of the ladies at the front desk saw I was fighting tears. I was so embarrassed and frustrated with everything I couldn't stop myself. The nurse and surgeon who saw me, both ran their fingers across my lump for a few seconds and told me it was just breast tissue, but that they would do a mammogram just in case. They did a 3D mammogram and sent me back to the waiting area, then called me back in again and did a few more with magnification, then sent me back to the waiting area again. Finally, the tech came back and told me that there were small calcifications, but just come back in 6 months for a follow-up. 

I should have asked for more information because I had no idea what calicifications were (until I started reading up on them yesterday) and now I don't really know what to do. From the posts I've read on here about similar situations with calcifications, I think I should ask for a biopsy? I'm hoping my PCP will have the report by Monday so I can ask him since he was thinking the BS would want an MRI done. My insurance coverage ends in 3 months so I just hope I will be able to get some better answers by then :[ 

Any advice?

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Mar 28, 2014 06:39PM melissadallas wrote:

Keeping abreast, almost everyone has some microcalcifications. They are only suspicious if they present in certain patterns. Apparently yours did not or they would have told you you need a biopsy. It sounds like you're fine. Just go back in six months so they can make sure they haven't changed. They don't put you on six month follow up unless they have determined there is less than a 3% chance you have anything to worry about.  The risks of a biopsy would far outweigh the benefits in your situation.

LCIS, extensive sclerosing adenosis, TAH/BSO & partial omentectomy for mucinous borderline ovarian tumor. Dx 5/20/2012, LCIS, Stage 0, 0/0 nodes

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