Angry and scared after supposedly clear mammogram

It’s after 230am and I can’t sleep. Diagnosed with BC on Tuesday and waiting for results of core biopsy. Am really angry as had mammogram a year ago and it was clear but doctor thinks I’ve had this since then and it was missed. I have to go back next Tuesday for ultrasound biopsy on other breast and won’t get final diagnosis until they put all results together and I see consultant on 5th May. It seems an awfully long time to wait – is this a normal time frame? Husband had kidney transplant 16 months ago and our life was just starting to get back to some kind of normality after many years of waiting and dialysis – and now this! I’ve convinced myself the BC has spread if it’s been there so long. Sorry to be so negative when I have read so many brave words on this site.

Anne, you are at one of the most difficult points of the whole process, waiting for results. Most of us just want to know, even if it’s bad news. And it must be worse when you’ve had another serious health problem in the family. But don’t panic yet.

After having years of clear mammograms, or mammograms that just showed cysts, a DCIS appeared out of nowhere 2 years ago. Then last year when I had the second ‘routine’ check-up and the first post surgery mammogram, another tumour appeared out of nowhere, this time IDC. Tumours can develop between mammograms, but if you have them regularly, there is a good chance that they will be at an early grade and stage. In both cases, mine were far too small to be detected in any other way–even the surgeons who knew were looking at the x-rays and ultrasounds couldn’t feel anything. Even the IDC was very early, despite being an invasive form, and it wasn’t there 2 years ago when the DCIS appeared. This isn’t a spread, it was a new cancer.

That’s why they do a core biopsy, to make sure what it is. It is possible that you might need further tests after that. The mammogram and ultrasound only give limited information. Your results may be delayed a little by the bank holidays, but it’s not an unreasonable time. Very few cancers spread that quickly. Human nature being what it is, you either worry because the results are ‘too slow’ or that being ‘so quick’ means that it must be really bad. We can’t win, can we?

Best wishes


I won’t say don’t worry, because you will, but try to keep busy over the holidays. Get out in the good weather as much as you can.

Im so sorry that you are having to join us here with cancer on top of everything else you have been through.

I had a mamogram and it also didnt show cancer and still doesnt im a little different as im a cup cancer, try not to worry to much as mamograms dont always show up the cancer especially if its very small. It is horrible waiting for the results and early hours of the morning are the worst. I hope you managed to get some sleep. Somebody will be along soon that will have more knowledge about it all than i. I had to wait two months before my treatment started and oncologist said it made no difference at all. Mine is a very aggressive cancer and the two months as far as im concerned made no difference at all.

anne sorry you had to find yourself here but you will be welcome
i was told that my bc didnt show up on mammogram lucky for me i found a lump and ultrasound showed it up . the waiting is the hardest part but you will get through it i was dx end of feb but only had full results 3 weeks ago and yet i still have more this week (bone scan )and that was fast
as for thinking the worst a family member had found a lump in her breast 12 months before she got the nerve to go see a doctor she had got bc and had for a long time but she hasnt lost her breast it hasnt spread she underwent chemo rads and to this day she is well so far it hasnt come back it all depends on wot typeof bc you have im sure the ladys that have gone though all of this will be around to offer you wot advice they can im still only at the start just got most of the waiting over which at the time seems to be forever but it went so fast. dont be sorry for anything we have all been there but as you said reading the brave words you can see there is light at the end no matter how bad it seems right now all the best with the results
tc maz xxx

Hi Anne

I’m sure the BCC facilitators will be along shortly to say hello, but in the meantime you might want to think about giving the helpline a ring to help you get things into perspective. As has been said, this is the most difficult time as at least when you know what you’re dealing with you can deal with it, while you’re in The Waiting Room you can be tortured with all sorts of dark thoughts.

The Publications section on this site is a good source of information, as are reputable sites such as Macmillan, Breakthrough, Cancer Research, but stay away from googling indiscriminately as you could end up scaring yourself witless.

I was diagnosed 8th Dec and with further tests etc didn’t have my first surgery until 10th Jan, another small bit of surgery on 26th Jan and started chemo on 10th March, so I sympathise with the feeling of time dragging.

Keep posting on here if you need to rant, share worries or ask questions. And THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A SILL QUESTION, so whatever you want to ask, just ask it. Someone will be along with an answer or a pointer to where you might get it. Use the helpline as much as you need to, they’re great.

Hi Anne

Firstly, welcome to the forums. I’m sorry to read of your diagnosis, the first few days and weeks are always difficult when coming to terms with things and getting to grips with your treatment plans, etc.

As well as the support you are receiving from the other usrs you may find it helpful to order the BCC resources pack, I’ve given below the link. It is specifically designed for those people newly diagnosed and is filled with information to help you better understand your diagnosis, test results and the various treatments available. … tionId/82/

Also, do give the helpline a ring if you need any further support or information. They’re on 0808 800 6000. Open today 9-2 and again on Tuesday 9 to 5pm.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

Hi Anne,

welcome to the forums,

I had a mammogram which I am still convinced missed my tumour,

My history goes back 10 years to my first diagnosis, left side
this last diagnosis november 2010 right side

both times i actually felt a lump.

My attitude is that having got over the initial shock and the roller coaster of emotions, it is something which has to be dealt with,

I am sure you have enough inner strength having been through everything you have so far.

It doesnt seem fair, and I can totally relate to you feeling angry
we have all also been scared.

All the very best to you at this very difficult time, keep posting, I find it helps sometimes just to be able to let of steam and chat to someone who has experienced something similar to yourself.

Liz xxx

hi ann. i was told in october 2009 that i had bc. not sure then the grade and stage. i had to wait untill january for all my results because my doctor was going away for christmas. i can understand how you feel. i too thought i was getting my life back to normal. but just found out my husband has skin cancer, so going down that rocky road again. hope you get the results you want. x gaynor

Thank you everyone for your responses. It is so helpful and supportive to hear from other ladies who are facing up to bc. I’m having a bit of a bad morning today. My fears have been running away with me since the early hours. But I’m sure it’s one of those waves I have to ride and I hope I will feel a bit calmer as the day goes on.

Hi Anne, sorry you are here, but the members here are very supportive.

My wife has just finished treatment, she had chemo, then surgery, then radiotherapy. Towards the end of chemo they did a mammogram and ultrasound to plan surgery, and the tumour had shrunk so that it was not visible on either. The path reports showed there was still a little bit left. This was on a patient that was known to have cancer, and the location to look was known.

What I am saying is that cancer does not always show up on a mammogram. It does not mean the staff missed it, it may just have been undetectable then.

Also I gather age matters. If you are a younger lady, it is more difficult to detect cancer on a mammmogram.


Hi, Like you my cancer wasn’t picked up. I was diagnosed just a month after my last clear mammogram and only a few weeks after I had been discharged by the oncologist from a previous bc. I thought I was doing everything right but it seems they can be difficult to detect sometimes. I’ve gone through a lot of anger but have come to the realisation that it is a wasted emotion.

Good luck with it all and best wishes,



Thank you for these further posts. My anxiety is heightened by the fact that the ultrasound showed an inflamed node and I don’t know how serious this is. Has anyone else had experience of picking up inflamed nodes on ultrasound and what it meant?


Sorry you are so anxious. I think I read that around 10 % of bc don’t show on mammograms at all - scary really. Ultrasound scans of nodes are not always very accurate, either way. I was told mine looked clear and yet had quite a lot of cancer in one at the snb, yet on the other hand a friend had a full clearance on the basis that many of hers appeared enlarged, but no cancer was found in any of them. Normally they would do a fine needle aspiration in my hospital on suspicious nodes. I know how worrying it is when you are finding out exactly what you dx is.

Take care


Lymph nodes are one of the ways your body deals with infection. If something is ‘inflamed’ it is usually larger and possibly warmer than usual and if it’s something you can see it may look red. This is why doctors often feel your lymph nodes when they are trying to diagnose an illness–you may have noticed inflamed lymph nodes in your neck if you have an infection with a cold, for example.

Because you have a breast tumour, they will want to check your inflamed lymph node to see whether any tumour cells have got into it–in which case it’s doing it’s job and trying to trap them for you–or whether it’s something else.

When your tumour is removed, they may also remove some or all of your lymph nodes to check. If cancer cells have reached your lymph nodes you will probably be offered further treatment. This will depend on a lot of factors, and an oncologist will discuss it with you.

This is certainly something to ask the surgeon about.


Thanks Deb and Cheryl for the information. It helps to read about other people’s thoughts and experiences.

Hi Anne, it lookes as though i had my BC about 12-18 months before it was DX, nearly 4 years ago. and i was fortunate that it had not spread so i needed WLE and SN Biopsy had no chemo and have been on Tamoxifen now on Aromasin, hope this helps a little.


I also had an all clear mammogram before xmas but found a lump early March which was cancer and have just had MX and aux node clearance. It didn’t show on the mammogram only on the ultrasound and obviously the biopsies. It was Grade 2 invasive lobular cancer. Am doing great now just waiting to see oncologist to find out whats next…


I too had a mammogram in September 2010 so was very surprised that the lump I found at the beginning of April this year was cancerous. When I challenged the clear mammogram I was told it had been re-examined but there was definitely no sign of a tumour and that it may have been hidden.

Of more concern to me was that the ultra sound, mammogram and biopsy on 11th April showed that I had squamous cancer of the breast but that the cells examined as the result of the biopsy did not appear to be breast cells, therefore there was a real possibility that, albeit uncommon, the breast cancer was secondary. As such I was booked in for a CT scan on 9th May.

I returned to the Hospital on 10th May for the results and was told that the scan had come back clear and that the breast cancer was primary. What a relief, I never thought I would be grateful to be told that I ‘only had breast cancer’, irrespective of the fact that squamous cell cancer is very aggressive.

I am now booked for a lumpectomy on 31st May, with breast re-construction towards the end of June.

Prior to the scan on Monday I felt so scared and was prescriped valium by my GP to help me over the two worst days of my life. Today I went for a new hairdo and tomorrow I fly to Italy to spend a week with my daughter and her family. I actually feel great and am determined to overcome this beast in my breast (that I have nicknamed Fred).

By now you will also have been back for your resuls and I hope and pray that like me, your news, albeit not the best, will be better than your worst nightmare.

Take care

Jazees Granny.