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Topic: Scared... pretty sure I have cancer...

Forum: Not Diagnosed but Worried —

Meet others worried about developing breast cancer for the first time. PLEASE DO NOT POST PICTURES OF YOUR SYMPTOMS. Comparing notes, symptoms, or characteristics is not helpful here, as only medical professionals can accurately evaluate and assess your individual situation.

Posted on: Sep 8, 2009 09:33PM

CrunchyPoodleMama wrote:

Hi, everyone... I'm Julie and I am pretty sure I have cancer; it's just a matter of confirming it.

Four months ago (May 09), I realized I had a 1" or so lump in my right breast. It alarmed me because although I'd been somewhat "lumpy" (fibrocystic, probably) for most of my caffeine-addicted adult life, I had never felt anything that large.

I prefer minimally invasive things when possible, so instead of going in for a mammogram (I haven't had one yet), I had something called thermography done. (It is heat-sensitive and maps areas of your body where inflammation is, and supposedly it's an earlier predictor of breast cancer than a mammogram.)

According to my thermogram, I was "inflamed" all over... not just the one lump... which they said means it's likely I'm fibrocystic, not cancerous. I swore off caffeine (well, for about five minutes anyway!) and went on my merry way.

Fast forward to a routine doctor's appt last week. Lump never went away, so I asked my doctor (who is a breast cancer survivor -- a male one, interestingly). He checked it and must have been alarmed because he had his staff set up an appt with a breast specialty center the very next day.

At that appointment, the doctor did an ultrasound and the usual grope Laughing, and said he was concerned, that the lump is suspicious, it doesn't seem fibrocystic to him, and I need to have a biopsy. That's scheduled for two weeks from now.

For some reason, although it's been in the back of my mind, I haven't been too worried so far... until tonight.

When I answered the specialist's question of "do you have any nipple discharge," I said no. But later, thinking about it, every once in a while I notice a teeny dot of dried blood on the inside of my bra (not quite in the center, but a little to the side). I assumed it was from a zit.

But tonight, after reading everyone's bloody discharge posts, I did what I hadn't done before... gave it a squeeze... and sure enough, a tiny blood droplet oozed out. Frown

My heart sank and a wave of panic settled over me. I feel in my heart this means I do have cancer.

I thought I didn't have any risk factors, because:

 - No one in my family has ever had cancer, breast or otherwise
 - I'm not a smoker, not obese, etc.
 - Until last week, I was a raging caffeine addict -- and my mother has had benign cysts all her life because of caffeine -- so I assumed it was likely that I just have one big honking cyst

But on the other hand, I have one HUGE risk factor that freaks me out. They say that if you haven't given birth by age 30, you're at a higher risk. I've read that being pregnant but having the pregnancy be terminated puts you at an even higher risk. Well, my husband and I have been trying to conceive for 6 years and have had four miscarriages. Hello, cancer risk!!!!! Cry (as if infertility and miscarriage aren't heartbreaking enough)

Out of my three best girlfriends, two have survived breast cancer... and they are the two who have never had children. So now, between that and the lump and now the bloody discharge, I am convinced I have cancer and am SICK at the thought of having to go through chemo and radiation and destroy my chances of ever being a mother. 

I guess I just needed to vent and cry here a little... thank you so much for listening. I guess all I can do is wait for the biopsy (although that freaks me out because research says that cancer is able to leak out of a cancerous cyst after a biopsy and that's how it often spreads). I wonder if it's possible to just have this thing cut out of me without going through a biopsy.... anyway, sorry to ramble and THANK YOU for listening! 

Julia ~ Dear friends, do what you can to help your body fight/prevent cancer. 1. Supplement with iodine and vitamin D. 2. STOP taking hormonal birth control/HRT. 3. Eat organic real food, not chemical or fake food. Dx 11/13/2009, DCIS, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Sep 8, 2009 09:41PM arbojenn wrote:

OH I am so sorry you are going through all this!  The hardest part is waiting.  I would, however, call the doctor first thing tomorrow and tell him about the nipple discharge.  He might be able to give you other causes which might help you hold on to hope as you wait or maybe move your biopsy up, especially if you emphasize the anxiety this is causing you.  Please let me know how it goes.  I am praying for you.

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Sep 8, 2009 09:45PM CrunchyPoodleMama wrote:

Thank you so much!! Just reading your reply has helped me *breathe* (it feels like I haven't breathed in the last few hours since making this discovery)... thank you so very much, I really appreciate it!!

Julia ~ Dear friends, do what you can to help your body fight/prevent cancer. 1. Supplement with iodine and vitamin D. 2. STOP taking hormonal birth control/HRT. 3. Eat organic real food, not chemical or fake food. Dx 11/13/2009, DCIS, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Sep 8, 2009 10:06PM - edited Sep 9, 2009 08:39AM by LISAMG

I would also echo getting your biopsy sooner with the nipple discharge & lump!!  Don't wait. Sometimes a bloody discharge can also be a symptom of an intra-ductal papilloma, as was my case, and often benign. May I ask your age? Was a mammo done as well? Hang in there and be proactive by requesting a sooner appointment. Sending you lots of benign wishes!

High Risk for HBOC, BRCA Un-informative Negative Previvor, Bilateral Nipple Sparing Risk Reducing Mastectomy, August, 2010, Lipo/ Micro fat grafting with high profile implants, Nov.,2010. Risk Reducing Lap. BSO, October, 2011.
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Sep 8, 2009 10:20PM CrunchyPoodleMama wrote:

Thank you... I will be calling the doctor first thing tomorrow morning! I am 38. I have never had a mammogram because I tend to believe the research that says that pre-menopause, the radiation can actually contribute to breast cancer eventually... but you'd better believe I'll have one now if the doctor recommends it.

Lisa, I need to research intraductal papilloma... I trust you're okay now? (The droplet seemed to be from one duct, on the same side as the lump... ugh!)

THANK YOU so much!!!

P.S. If there is a thread here about "here's what happens next," I'd love a link... I am completely clueless right now and trying to bone up on "cancer 101"... the main thing I'm concerned about is that I do NOT want to go through chemo if I don't have to, since my husband and I haven't been able to have children yet.

Julia ~ Dear friends, do what you can to help your body fight/prevent cancer. 1. Supplement with iodine and vitamin D. 2. STOP taking hormonal birth control/HRT. 3. Eat organic real food, not chemical or fake food. Dx 11/13/2009, DCIS, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Sep 9, 2009 03:53AM - edited Sep 9, 2009 03:55AM by leaf

The path towards diagnosis is not exactly the same for everyone. 

Of course you are scared.  We all want to be prepared for whatever is ahead for us, no matter how small the risk.

No one can tell you for sure whether you have a cancer or not.  The doc who normally diagnoses a person with breast cancer is a pathologist after looking at a piece of tissue under the microscope. 

I wouldn't be surprised if you had,  at some point, an ultrasound.  Ultrasounds are good at telling the border between tissue and fluid , such as a cyst (a fluid filled sac.) Cysts can be aspirated in the office.

Here is an overview of the breast cancer diagnosis tree.   http://imaginis.com/breasthealth/diagnosis.asp

As you can see, the vast majority of women, particularly young women (and you would be considered young - the mean age to get breast cancer in the US is in one's early 60s)  have a benign outcome. 

Here's more from the NCI about breast papillomas. www.cancer.gov/templates/db_al...

Studies do differ, but in this study, they didn't find an association between breast symptoms (breast pain, lumps, and nipple discharge) and breast cancer. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12... http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12000140


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 9, 2009 11:24AM PatsyC wrote:


  Ok take a deep breath.... Leaf has very good info.  Luckily most of us women who come here find that we have benign results.  It is very "scary" when there are suspicious findings until confirmed that everything is ok. The waiting is the worst. Like many on here some of us have frequent "findings" and are here often.  I have had many suspicious lumps and calcifications that have been biopsied and US and have only had one come back ALH.  Some of the harder lumps that concerned Dr's still ended up being only benign cysts behind normal breast tissue that made them feel different than regular cystic lumps.  I seldom go in for a mammogram that I am not called back for more views.  It sounds like you are in good hands getting further exams/tests.  I have had 6 miscarriages and though I have heard that it can increase risks I haven't had a positive  biopsy.  You will find the reassurement and info. here very helpful during your waiting game.  Good luck and prayers


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Sep 9, 2009 12:09PM CrunchyPoodleMama wrote:

Wow, GREAT resources, leaf -- thank you so much! Patsy, I'm so sorry you had to go through so many miscarriages. I hope you were able to, or will be able to, have at least one living child... I really appreciate all your encouragement... I think I'll be able to hang on emotionally until my biopsy now! Smile THANK YOU all again so much!!!
Julia ~ Dear friends, do what you can to help your body fight/prevent cancer. 1. Supplement with iodine and vitamin D. 2. STOP taking hormonal birth control/HRT. 3. Eat organic real food, not chemical or fake food. Dx 11/13/2009, DCIS, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Sep 10, 2009 10:19AM PatsyC wrote:


      Off topic but yes we have 4 Beautiful children from 11-19.  I never thought to give up :)  I pm'd you on that subject.  Take care and good luck with the tests.


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Sep 10, 2009 07:59PM CoolBreeze wrote:

I've been where you are and I know you are worried but you will get through it.  I had no risk factors either, but hello cancer!  

I believe your research is mistaken about the link between biopsy and the spread of cancer, by the way.  If I'm wrong, you will have treatment pretty quickly after the diagnosis, so I don't think that should be a fear of yours. 

My motto was prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  So, I did as much research as I could about all my symptoms and realized I almost certainly had cancer.  Then I got myself in the frame of mind to handle it so when I did hear the news, I was prepared and as educated as I could be.   I wasn't upset at the news because I was prepared.  With each stage, I do as much preparation as I can and that helps.

I think everybody will tell you that waiting is the worst!  Leaf is correct though, that you won't know for sure until your biopsy.  Did you ask for a copy of your sonogram report?  You should get in the habit of asking for copies of everything, you never know when you might need it and it helps you prepare.

Good luck!

Ann's cancer blog: www.butdoctorihatepink.com .....multicentric/multifocal IDC/ILC+DCIS/LCIS/ADH Official dx? "Your breast was a mess." ~UniMastectomy/Chemo/Herceptin/Tamoxifen/Recon Almost Done! Oh wait. mets to liver 5/21/11 Now Stage IV Dx 8/17/2009, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Sep 10, 2009 08:27PM CrunchyPoodleMama wrote:

Patsy, I'm so happy to hear that! That gives me hope that maybe I'll someday be blessed with at least one! Smile

Ann, thank you so much for your perspective... you're so right about the importance of preparing (emotionally, and with knowledge etc.). Thanks for the reminder to ask for copies of everything! I definitely need to do that. I am going to go to your blog to read about your journey... I have immense respect for you and what you've overcome already!! Thank you again for your suggestions and encouragement!!

Julia ~ Dear friends, do what you can to help your body fight/prevent cancer. 1. Supplement with iodine and vitamin D. 2. STOP taking hormonal birth control/HRT. 3. Eat organic real food, not chemical or fake food. Dx 11/13/2009, DCIS, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Sep 11, 2009 04:21PM KorynH wrote:


I am really sorry you are having to go through this right now! My heart is with you...right there aching with you as you wring your hands with worry.

most of us have felt the fear you are experiencing now. For me, it was just one year ago this coming October 1st.  All of those biopsies I had during the month of September were difficult - the waiting for results was the hardest part. I can only suggest you try to stay busy, go places, be with people and try to find anything that will keep your mind of this. Take something to help you sleep. That was a hard thing for me - a sleeper my while life and suddenly awake half the night for weeks! You are right to do all the reading you can, research, know your options, and if there is anything I have learned this year is that YOU must take charge of your own health care.  Doctors make mistakes, care is NOT universal, and options do exist but you need to know what they are first. 

Be sure that if they are going to do biopsies or excisional biopsies that you ask for numbing lidocaine - can you believe that my radiologist fully intended to do mine without and when I had a wire guided excisional biopsy (the biopsy itself was under anesthesia) but they were going to place the wire without any local or otherwsie!  All I had to do was ask for lidocaine first - made things go a lot smoother!

Do not let them just "take"your lymph nodes out - demand a sentinel node biopsy procedure which spares you a life time of poor lymph circulation if you don't have cancer in the lymph nodes.  Some doctors don't do this  or are not trained- find one who does and one who has done many of them. Lymphatic invasion is different than cancer being in the lymph nodes. Read about lymphedema. If your nodes have cancer in them, then yes, they'll need to come out, but no reason to take them all out in fear that one might have cancer, only to find out that none of them did and now you're left with life long debilitating illness but it does happen to women all over the country! Read about all of this and ask lots of questions first. You have time.  I know you feel like if you have cancer that you would want surgery right away, but take your time, meet with plastic surgeon, radiolgy oncologist and surgeon all before doing anything you can't reverse.  If you are told that it is a fibroadenoma, get it out!! That is what they told me mine was and getting it out was optional. Thank God I did!  I had Invasive ductal carcinoma and infiltrating lobular carcinoma and had they not taken it out I may have lost my life in a couple of years! 

Ask many many questions and read all you can.  If there is anything I have learned it is that you must know your stuff!  I know that sounds overwhelming, but believe me, the women on these forums have a lot of wisdom they can share with you.Ask away! We all pray that you'll have B9 results!

KorynH -age 44 at diagnosis (2008) , IDC 1.6cm , ILC 1.6cm ,Rt. mast. 10/08, 0/6 nodes,stage 2a, gr. 3, ER+/PR+, Her2NU+++, BRCA Neg.,TCH chemo 12/08 - Herceptin completed 12/09, T.E., silicone implant exchange July 2009

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