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Topic: Understanding the lump, hopefully reducing stress

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: Nov 20, 2019 07:28PM

N830 wrote:

I've just recently decided to have a lump checked out, and will be getting all of the regular tests done soon. In the mean time, while I wait, I was hoping some folks here could potentially relieve some stress, or if not, help me understand what I'm looking at.

I'm 30 years old, never pregnant, had only one family member who's had issues with cancer (great aunt, breast cancer). I've had a lump in my breast that has some strange symptoms, and I wonder if anyone has had anything similar, or knows what I'm dealing with.

The lump first arrived along with a tooth infection (hear me out, I know this seems unrelated), at the beginning of the year. I got rid of the tooth infection with coconut oil and cloves, and the lump went away when the tooth infection did. A month later, both things (lump and infection) came back at the same time. So I decided to have the tooth pulled (it was a wisdom tooth). Immediately after the extraction, the lump shrunk to maybe 30% of its initial size, but did not disappear. I waited a month of so, and then the tooth infection returned on another wisdom tooth, along with the lump growing again to its larger, painful size. I had the second wisdom tooth extracted, and the lump again immediately shrunk to 1/3 of it's original size.

This is all to say that the lump has been highly and immediately correlated with dental issues, but now I do not have any notable dental issues, and it has grown large again. I can keep it smaller than it's maximum size by brushing, mouthwash, etc a couple times throughout the day, but if I neglect dental hygiene for a day, then the next day it will be large and painful.

The size of the lump has also been correlated with stress, and lack of sleep. If I don't sleep well, it will be larger the next day. If I'm stressed, it will even grow a fair bit within a few hours. Once I get a good night of sleep, and calm down, the size of the lump will shrink back down.

I have been searching high and low, and can't seem to figure out how it could be possible that the size a lump in my breast can be immediately changed by tooth infection, dental hygiene, stress or lack of sleep. I'm hoping that the very odd symptoms mean that it is something benign, but I'm no expert.

The other thing is the rapid changes in size. It can change from the size of a small marble to nearly 3 times that, and then back within a day.

The GP who has scheduled my ultrasound and mammogram agrees that these things are strange, but could not offer an explanation, outside of saying that fibroadenomas can change size. My understanding is that fibroadenomas correspond with hormones, rather than the immune system though, and the lump does not seem to be impacted very much by my period, ovulation, etc.

I do apologize for the long post, but even just writing it out has been cathartic to a degree, and I figure being detailed can only help. I'll leave a list of bullet points here, for anyone who is interested, but doesn't have the time to real all that.

-Lump changes size regularly and rapidly, from pinball size to 3 times that, and then back, within a day.

-Lump is strongly correlated with dental issues (tooth abscesses, multiple times)

-Lump grows from stress and lack of sleep, but will shrink back down once those things are fixed.

What do folks here think I'm looking at? Should I be preparing for a cancer diagnosis, or do the symptoms likely preclude that? I just want to know what the damn thing is.

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Nov 21, 2019 04:23AM Ingerp wrote:

This doesn’t sound like cancer at all. Tumors don’t go up and down in size on their own. It’s great that you’re getting checked out—try not to worry until you get test results.

Dx 3/11/2016, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR- Surgery 3/23/2016 Lumpectomy Surgery 4/20/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/18/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 3/2/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 3/13/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 5/18/2018 Taxol (paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 5/18/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Radiation Therapy 8/20/2018 Whole-breast: Breast
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Nov 21, 2019 04:47AM N830 wrote:

Ingerp, thank you for the response. That's the direction I was hoping for/leaning, but didn't want to trust that from myself since I don't have the background/experience necessary to form an educated opinion. Nice to hear it from someone else. I've been all over the internet, from reading case studies about cat scratch disease, to hunting through 10 year old forum posts looking for stories of lump rapidly changing size, and haven't found much similar to what I've got going on, but it's nice to hear that it's at least not acting like it's cancerous.

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Nov 21, 2019 05:30AM djmammo wrote:


If/when you find out exactly what this is, please let us know. When things turn out to be benign, some people do not return to let us know.

I am particularly curious about your case as I know of nothing that changes size as rapidly as you are describing.

Have you had any trauma to your chest? Prior surgery of the chest including implants?

Board Certified Diagnostic Radiologist specializing in Breast Imaging helping members understand their health care provider's reports and recommendations.
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Nov 21, 2019 06:58AM N830 wrote:

Djmammo, I'll be sure to post the info up on here. I'll probably put it somewhere else too, so anyone who's dealing with something similar in the future can find at least one post telling them how it ended up.

I have not had any real trauma to my chest/breasts. Certainly nothing on the level of surgery, though my husband would sometimes pinch/twist my breast to wake me up if I was spacing off or falling asleep while we were watching a tv show. It was generally playful/pretty light, though it did leave a small bruise 1 or 2 times. This was on the same breast that now has a lump.

Glad to see that my husband and I are not the only ones who have been stumped by this thing. It certainly hasn't been for lack of trying. Nice to see some folks who are more knowledgeable than us think it's an oddity.

I will say that, whatever it is, I have learned this evening that it is affected pretty heavily by iodine. I read somewhere about that having an effect on fibroadenomas, and thought I would try supplementing some, just to see what happened. That was 4-5 hours ago, and it has gone from about 85% of its max size, down to about 40% of its max size (so it shrunk about 50% in 4-5 hours). It hasn't been this small in around a month. and this was from 3 teaspoons of iodized table salt, which is not something I typically consume. I'm going to grab an actual iodine supplement tommorow and see what happens, but for now it's another piece of the puzzle. Maybe explains the connection with the teeth anyway, because the dentist would have likely used iodine in some form or another during the tooth extraction.

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Nov 21, 2019 07:03AM AliceBastable wrote:

Clove and coconut oil can alleviate dental pain, but they do not clear up infections. I don't see how topical pain relievers would affect a completely different part of your body.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Cancer's a bitch, but I'm a bigger one with more practice. Dx 5/2018, ILC/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/8/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Nov 21, 2019 07:28AM - edited Nov 21, 2019 08:01AM by djmammo


What you are describing in the last paragraph of your most recent post is not possible, and makes no sense physiologically.

Also nothing solid can change that fast. The only thing that can change that fast would be something that fills and empties either with a fluid or with air. A large venous malformation or large venous varix could fill and empty with changes in body position but that would be very unusual and would have to be congenital or post traumatic. Not sure if a hemangioma or lymphangioma would change size that rapidly, and one of thesemight even be pulsatile. A pseudoaneurysm can occur after a large needle core biopsy but you've given us no history of that. Even less likely would be an abnormal communication between your lungs and a pocket of air in your breast, again would have to be either congenital or post traumatic / post op. The other option is you are pulling our collective legs.

Let us know when your imaging reports are available.

Board Certified Diagnostic Radiologist specializing in Breast Imaging helping members understand their health care provider's reports and recommendations.
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Dec 9, 2019 03:58AM N830 wrote:

Bit of an update, for those who are interested. The first round of imaging was apparently concerning according to the GP who reviewed it with me. The actual accounting of the information is blurry for me due to stress and lack of sleep at the time. I was then scheduled for a ultrasound guided biopsy (core punch, I believe). In the time in between, I purchased and used selenium and lugols iodine supplements which resulted in considerable shinkage to the lump.

During the second biopsy, they took another round of mammogram photos (I think the primary objective here was to note the scarring caused by the needle?), as well as viewed the ultrasound while the needle went in. The radiologist who conducted these tests said they felt quite certain that it was a fibroadenoma, due to appearance, the way that it moved when punctured, and the appearance of the stuff that came out when it was punctured. I am now waiting on results from this biopsy, which should be coming in the next few days. Hopefully good news.

What I have to imagine is that the iodine intake reducing the size of the lump and potentially the density of my breasts in general (they were noted to be very dense on the first visit, but nothing was said about it the second time, and both breast also now feel different to the touch), made the imaging scans look different on both occasions. I'm not sure what else would cause the first scans to look concerning enough to warrant an immediate appointment with the GP, and the second scans to look normal enough that the radiologist felt comfortable telling me on the spot that he believed it was a fibroadema. This was the same radiologist both times too, so I can't imagine it was a difference in interpretation.

Regarding my above accounts of the lump changing in size, I should note a few things. The first is that my diet was apparently almost completely devoid of iodine for a number of reasons, so ingesting some may have has an outsized affect. The second is that these measurements were just me measuring with my hand for the purposes of description (and the lump is deep in the breast). I'll readily acknowledge that it is/was bound to be inaccurate and also influenced by emotion to a degree. I was extremely excited to have found something that caused it to change size, which confirmed to me I hadn't imagined this occurring before. I will stand by the "rapid changing in size" statement though, if not my exact measurements, since there are 3 incidences of it happening, all of which were seemingly caused by iodine intake (dentist apt, dentist apt, and the incident described in above posts). I've also managed to reduce the size of the lump size to lower than it's been since its appearance.

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