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Topic: Lump in left breast

Forum: High Risk for Breast Cancer — Due to family history, genetics, or other factors.

Posted on: Sep 25, 2007 08:37PM - edited Sep 25, 2007 08:37PM by scaredtodeath

scaredtodeath wrote:

I am a daughter of a breast cancer survivor.  My mom was 38 when she was diagnosed.  I am now 38 and have a lump in my breast.  There is some history you need to know before I proceed.

Two and a half years ago I was having breast pain in the left breast.  My GP ordered a mammogram and an ultrasound.  Microcalicfications were found on the mammogram and nothing on the US.  I was then send for MRI which chowed a terrible mass.  I was told it was probably breast cancer and almost lost my mind as I sat holding my 1 year old boy.  I had a MRI guided biopsy on the scary mass and it was benign.  The surgeon was shocked and asked the radiologist if he was sure he got the spot.  He was 100% sure.  I then had a surgical biopsy for the calcifications and they were benign too.  No strange cells in my samples either.  I felt blessed.  I had a follow up MRI 6 months later and it was fine.

When it came time for my next years exams, mammo and US were clear, but MRI found something again in the same general area, but not the same spot.  It was biopsied and was found to be scar tissue from my last procedure. 

Before I got pregnant with my second son, I was re-screened and all three, mammo, US and MRI were clear!

Got pregnant and have a 3 month old now.

I went the other day to my surgeon to resume my screenings.  He found a lump in my left breast.  He said he was not concerned and thought it might be scar tissue.  He sent me for a mammo and US.

Mammogram and US both revealed absolutely nothing and I was sent on my way with my happy BIRADS 1 score, indicating no cancer and nothing suspicious.

My problem is this.  I have pain there now, I can feel the lump and it is making me nuts!  I talked to the surgeon today and told him I want it out.  He said he would do that, but that he did not think it was cancer, especially given the clear scans.  He actually said that he would have removed it immediately if he had thought it was cancerous.

I do have postpartum.  Am I overreacting to this?  My friends think I am crazy to go under the knife just to get it out seeing that I have clean scans, mammo and US.

Has anyone else ever gone through this?

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Sep 26, 2007 08:18AM - edited Mar 19, 2008 12:50PM by TenderIsOurMight

Dear Scared to Death,

No, I don't think you are nuts at all. With a young child, I believe a parent goes into extra "survival" mode for their offspring, and gives attention to ensuring their own body is functioning fine and will continue to do so through out that child's childhood. It's almost an evolutionary "survival of the fittest" mode. I went through this myself.

Your breast history is difficult to bear by anyone. Adding to that is pain and persistence of the lump, well that's enough for many to insist on it's removal. What good is it doing there in your breast anyways, other than taking up space in the symmetry of the breast (which some would consider a point)?

To me, it's very reasonable to have it out. Then you can ensure that it is completely benign, and go on your way without chronic worry and concentrate on your family. But that's just my opinion.


It cannot be emphasized too strongly that treatment of each patient is a highly individualized matter. (FDA-approved labeling for warfarin (Coumadin) NDA 9-218/5-105)
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Sep 26, 2007 10:30AM scaredtodeath wrote:

Thank you so much for your response.  Did everything turn out well for you when you went through this?  I am in survival mode that's for sure.  With a three year old and a 3 month old, I have to be safe and healthy for them.  I am going to talk to the surgeon again today and see if he will do a fine needle asperation first (to put my mind at ease hopefully) until the surgery can be done.  Thanks for your kind words of support.  I really appreciate it.

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Sep 26, 2007 11:00AM - edited Mar 19, 2008 12:50PM by TenderIsOurMight

Well yes and no. Eventually "it" was determined to be cancer. But "yes" in that I faced it, received treatment from fine doctors, am learning to live along with and beyond breast cancer and it's sequela, and made a promise to myself to help to answer women and men such as you who are in a very difficult place.

The best step, imho, is to do what you are doing: question, get another needle biopsy, consider it's excision. The earlier a cancer is found, usually the greater likelihood it may be successfully treated.

Trust your instincts. Should a professional ever inadvertently (or not) intimidate you, look straight at them, don't blink and say, I don't want any mishaps here, it's my life. It sounds like your doctor is pro-active and caring of you.

This is NOT to suggest that you by any means have an active problem, and thereby increase your anxiety level. It is to respond to your query about when is enough, well, enough.

I wish you well,

It cannot be emphasized too strongly that treatment of each patient is a highly individualized matter. (FDA-approved labeling for warfarin (Coumadin) NDA 9-218/5-105)
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Sep 26, 2007 01:15PM scaredtodeath wrote:

So sorry to hear that it was cancer, but how wonderful you are to share your experiences with others.  Did yours show on mammo and/or ultrasound?  Mine is only felt, and is not visable on either mammogram or ultrasound.  The surgeon says that is good and not to worry about, but I still want to be sure. 

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Sep 26, 2007 01:20PM leaf wrote:

I think that you are **NOT** crazy for wanting it out. You have many, many reasons to want to be in survival mode. You very much want to be there for your kids.

I do not have any kids, nor do I have your family history. But I do have LCIS which puts me at high risk, though not as high risk as someone with a BRCA mutation.

I am of the school that the 'best lump is in the jar', in other words, I personally would feel more comfortable if any lump I had was taken out.

But there may be consequences to this. You may create more scar tissue, which may make future MRIs and mammos and ultrasounds more difficult to read.

I was told I should not have **screening** MRIs (which have different criteria than diagnostic MRIs) because "I have too much scar tissue". I do not agree with this opinion from an NCI cancer center (I have LCIS), but I just wanted to give you more possible angles to this.

I am not trying to confuse you. I am of the school that the best lump is in the jar, but there can be consequences to excisions. (It is much more unusual for needle biopsies or core biopsies to cause scar tissue, but it can happen.)

And to reassure you about pain: It is not a good indicator of breast cancer. Most women with breast cancer do not have breast pain, though some have. Most breast pain is from a non-cancerous cause.

I think you are doing the right thing to question, and get it checked out until **you** are satisfied that you have a benign condition.

Classic LCIS.If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them- Isaac Asimov Dx 12/8/2005, LCIS, ER+/PR- Surgery 1/24/2006 Lumpectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 7/15/2006 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 26, 2007 04:52PM scaredtodeath wrote:

Thanks leaf.  I think that having this thing in a jar is the best option too, but I do admit, I am worried about more scar tissue, especially since my surgeon thinks that the lump I have now is just that.  It just bothers me so much all the time because it is painful at times, and also because I have a baby on it all the time burping and cuddling.  At least I am not breastfeeding.  I tried, but the surgical biopsy I had severed some of my milk ducts and when my milke came in...well it was really bad.  I had a huge boob that never drained a drop of milk and was covered with clogged lumpy milk ducts.  Thank goodness that only lasted a week or so!  Thanks again for your kind response.

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Sep 26, 2007 08:38PM - edited Sep 26, 2007 08:38PM by Traci-----TripNeg

Dear Scaredtodeath,

You have every right to be scared and no, I do not think you are over reacting.

I would suggest a second opinion.

I would also suggest that when you get filled with anxiety about this, think about your mom (I'm curious to know how old she is long a survivor) and.....think about how blessed you are to have had children.

Try not to stress too much about it please. I am a firm believer that stress helps cancer rear it's ugly head.

Good luck girl.



Trip Neg BRCA + If I never look behind me, my troubles will be few. Supertramp. Dx 2/12/2007, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 0/14 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 26, 2007 10:44PM - edited Sep 27, 2007 09:35AM by scaredtodeath

Hi Traci,

My mom feels the same way about stress.  I was five when she had her mastectomy, she was 38.  Now 33 years later, she is enjoying her grandchildren.  There was no history of BC prior to her, but now that she has had it, I am considered high risk.  I have been getting some sort of screening every 6 months for the last two and a half years.  Actually, since finding a lump at the age of 26, I have been obsessed with my breast health.  The first lump was a fibroadenoma and is still there I believe because I never had it removed.  Since then, I have had a total of 4 biopsies on the left breast and 2 on the right.  All benign.  Yes I am so lucky to have had children.  I was not sure I would have a second because two and a half years ago I was told that they were pretty certain I had BC.  Thank God they were wrong.  But here I am again, scared and crying all the time.  It's not fair either that I am suffering from very severe postpartum anxiety, so I am in a diminished mental state at it is.   

Most of my friends have asked why I want to persue this.  Clear mammogram and clear ultrasound, so what is to worry about.  I suppose in a way they are right, but I have always been the type who has to know for sure, and the only way is to get it out.

Thank you so much for your response.  The support I have found here is priceless to me. 

P.S. As a side note, even my mom, the breast cancer survivor, said she would not persue this any further.  I made her feel it and she said it was nothing like hers.  I have been pawing at it now and I'm not sure what I am feeling.  Sometimes I think it feels ropey, sometimes oblong and round, but in either case, not hard.

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Oct 10, 2007 09:51AM scaredtodeath wrote:


I have an update.  I had the entire lump removed on Thursday.  Surgeon said it looked like fat necrosis to him.  I got my benign results yesterday!  No strange cells either.  It appears to be a mass made up of fat, scar tissue, and old blood.  I had a bad car accident 7 years ago and the seatbelt bruise was right at the spot, so they thinkthat had something to do with it.  Plus I had two biopsies there previously.  Thank you so much for helping me through this!

God bless you all.

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Oct 11, 2007 05:14PM leaf wrote:

Congrats! Those are the stories we are so happy about! Go out and celebrate!

Classic LCIS.If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them- Isaac Asimov Dx 12/8/2005, LCIS, ER+/PR- Surgery 1/24/2006 Lumpectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 7/15/2006 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)

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