Hi all. I hope I'm posting in the right place, please let me know if I'm not.
Recently, I found my first lump in my breast. I went in and had it assessed, got an ultrasound and a core needle biopsy (I'm just under 30, so they told me a mammogram wouldn't be particularly helpful). Happily, my results were benign, and I was told it was a fibroadenoma. I also was told I had a couple other small things that 'looked like fibroadenomas' and cysts in one breast. I was told that the one breast has indications fibrocystic change, and the four specialists who helped me through this process are satisfied that all looks well at this time. I'm currently (if a little impatiently) waiting for my doctor to get back to me about where I can get genetic testing.
So, while all of this was basically fine (I guess), in the process of all this I dug into my family history. My mother and her mother both had breast cancer. While they were both treated and moved past it, having all this knowledge hasn't really quelled my fear and stress around the subject. On top of it, during my biopsy the radiologist mentioned my 'extremely dense' breasts, which is apparently another risk to be aware of. There's also my personal history (took bc pills for 3 years as a teenager, and while I'm not a big drinker I've had patches of drinking more and less in my 20's, though currently my drinking habits are well below the recommended limit). I can change some of these things, and I can always strive to be healthier, but much of it is out of my control.
As I mentioned, I'm going to pursue genetic testing (my mother said she tested negative), but I'm realistically assessing how I'm going to afford the screening I will need in the future, and honestly... I'm just not sure how to cope with all of it. I have had some real financial trouble in the last couple years and that's stressful enough, but now I'm feeling like I MUST fix that problem or else I will not be able to pursue risk-reducing screenings. I have some real health anxiety still weighing on me, and feeling my one lumpy, sore breast still has me thinking, 'but what if they missed something?' (I would like to think it's unlikely at this point, and certainly once my biopsy bruise clears up I'll go back to regular BSEs, but there's just that little fear in the back of my mind that's messing me all the way up lately.)
Does anyone have tips of how to be proactive without being paranoid after learning about having a lot of risk factors? I guess it's hard because I've begun to perceive this as a very real threat, and the negative thought spirals are definitely not productive or helpful in any way, but it is hard to escape them. I'd like to think there are better ways of mentally and emotionally dealing with all this.
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