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Topic: Called backed for Focal Asymmetry. Worried sick

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: Dec 7, 2019 03:44AM

Fissie wrote:

Hi all! Went for my screening and was called back for left breast for focal asymmetry. Everything I am reading about focal asymmetry seems like it is not the best- meaning those having malignancy started out with this call back. I have not felt any lumps, but the density came back as being back against the chest wall on outer left side which would explain why. I have always had asymmetrical breasts, the left was always larger. I didn't notice any changes because I have gained weight and both breast have gotten larger due to this. Google has not been my friend. Am I right to assume that if it is not a cyst, fibroadenoma, breast tissue overlay distortion or scar tissue or trauma, that it is most likely malignant? It seems if you can rule out those, then it would be most likely malignant. I have not been able to sleep for days.My emotions are all over the place. Anyone have insight?

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Dec 7, 2019 08:24AM djmammo wrote:


You are assuming facts not in evidence. If its causing anxiety, stop Googling, it never makes anyone feel better at this stage. Post the reports of your diagnostic studies when you have them.

Board Certified Diagnostic Radiologist specializing in Breast Imaging helping members understand their health care provider's reports and recommendations.
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Dec 7, 2019 02:40PM Fissie wrote:

Thank you Djmammo. You are right. Reading things does not help me at all. I guess i just really wanted to know if benign was possible if a density does not fallin to any of those categories.

Since having my screening, i can feel the density under my armpit. Tbh, i never self exammef way out there and chalked up the 'extra' feeling there to the new armpit fat i had since gaining weight! How stupid I feel! It is also tender there. I chalked that up to shoulder pain i have been having after a fall down the steps. Another ugh!

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Dec 7, 2019 03:10PM AliceBastable wrote:

I don't think that's what density means. I hope someone knowledgeable like Beesie or DJMammo will help with that.

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 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/28/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Dec 7, 2019 06:47PM Beesie wrote:

"i can feel the density under my armpit".

Nope, you can't. Breast density cannot be felt.

Dense Breasts: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions.

"Only a mammogram can show if a woman has dense breasts. Dense breast tissue cannot be felt in a clinical breast exam or in a breast self-exam. For this reason, dense breasts are sometimes referred to as mammographically dense breasts."


"I have always had asymmetrical breasts, the left was always larger. I didn't notice any changes because I have gained weight and both breast have gotten larger due to this."

Focal asymmetry refers to the internal structure of your breast and how your breast tissue appears on imaging; it does not refer to the symmetry of your breast size or external appearance.

Are asymmetric breasts a sign of cancer? "Focal asymmetry. These images show a density on two mammographic views, but your doctor can't fully tell if it's a true mass. They'll request further imaging and evaluation to rule out cancerous or abnormal masses."

The asymmetry seen on your imaging could simply be caused by the way your breasts were squished in the mammogram machine.

Good luck with the call-back imaging. Let us know how it goes.

“No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke
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Dec 7, 2019 07:31PM circe221 wrote:


I literally *just* had this EXACT same issue - last Monday was called back for focal asymmetry, had "1.5 lobulated mass" written on the screening mammo report. I also have asymmetrical/lopsided breasts and very dense breasts. Spent the week sick and a mess with anxiety and worry.

Went yesterday for 2nd mammo and ultrasound and it turns out it was some sort of fibroglandular cyst that has apparently been there since at least 2017 but just decided to show up this time, possibly due to the way my breast was compressed according to the radiologist who actually came in and did the ultrasound himself.

I spent the week googling, googling, and googling, and it made me physically ill and in need of anti-anxiety medication.

One tip I would give you is to call ahead before your 2nd appointment to ensure that someone will be there to speak to you before you leave.

Also ask for a copy of your report or films if possible. I plan on following up with my gyn who ordered the test just to ensure that the results were received and to double check that no further follow-up is needed on my end - radiologist said to resume normal mammo schedule and come back in 1 year but I want to hear that from dr. also.

The good thing that the radiologist pointed out is that now we have a better picture of this breast, so if something comes up in the future, we can look back at this for reference. Next year I may ask for an ultrasound along with mammo to eliminate the need for a call-back. The week of waiting was horrible, and I am still feeling "stress hangover" from it today on top of recovering from pneumonia.

But I wanted to share my story because it is so similar to yours and hopefully will give you some comfort.

Keep reading/posting here rather than google, or try to stay away from computer.

Good luck and sending you positive vibes!!!

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Dec 8, 2019 04:25AM Fissie wrote:

thank you both for the distinction. Your description of assymetry is very helpful! It makes me feel this is why i missed a lump then. My report did say focal assymetry which i guess is more than developing. I keep feeling in this area! I am hoping what i am feeling is not swelling near lymph nodes. See where my mind goes? I don’t feel anything hard and pea like there but wonder if swelling of them is what this would be. In which case, i am even more terrified!

Thank you for the suggestions about what to ask for. My appointment is Wednesday. The technician did take a few more pictures in this spot so along with the report, I know this is the area to look at here.

Reading here has been helpful but I also think my symptoms seem more than most here at this stage. I cannot find any threads on swelling or tenderness in this forum. And so curious if my fat’ in the armpit area could mask me actually feeling any nodes. I came looking for reassurance but it freaks me out even more

Thank you for holding my hand through this it means more than you know!

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Dec 8, 2019 07:37AM circe221 wrote:

Fissie - ask them to do your armpit when they do the ultrasound - I did ask that specifically.

Also, if the radiologist is on site and there to read, ask if they can come in to consult. I did not ask but he came in and did the ultrasound himself. I think the tech felt bad because I had a breakdown in the room, and I said that I wanted to make sure all bases were covered.

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Dec 8, 2019 08:56AM djmammo wrote:

This is one of my favorite sites. It is run by a Canadian radiologist and is written for the lay person, and quite well at that. Go here:

Scroll down to Asymmetric Density

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 11:01AM Fissie wrote:

Thank you again. I am having good days and bad days. Right now is a bad one. All of this information is so helpful. Djmammo, thank you for the website. I had found that one and there is lots of great information.

To all, I can see from my online records that more pictures and an ultrasound have already been ordered. Trying not to read in to that. Although, it seems doing it all would be better than leaving it to chance. Is there a place on here about where to find questions to ask at my appointment? I want to go in having everything ready to question rather than doing it in hindsight.

Thank you all!

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