Anyone else told to ‘prepare’ for a diagnosis of BC after biopsies taken?

I found a hard, ridged, fixed lump about 8cm above my right nipple last Thursday.  Went for a private ultrasound where I was told it looked highly suspicious.  However, at my NHS One Stop appointment on Monday  my mammogram was fine (but I have very dense breasts so tumour probably wouldn’t show up) and I thought I heard the sonographer/consultant tell me she wasn’t too worried but would take biopsies to be on the safe side.  I was surprised when she then graded what she saw as a 3/4.  I was even more shocked when I then went down to see the breast surgeon who told me to ‘prepare for’ a diagnosis of BC when I see her for the results on the 6th April. What exactly does ‘prepare for’ mean? She did also say she liked to be proved wrong! I am considered high family risk -My Mum has had BC twice (Last time last year) and three other family members on her side. Thankfully all are survivors apart from my Grandma who sadly died when it had spread to her lungs.


I have felt ok but started freaking out this morning especially as I’ve been told by Breast surgeon that even if biopsies are clear I should ‘expect a rollercoaster of more tests and waiting for results’.  I am already booked in for an MRI. The breast surgeon is really lovely and I know she’s just being thorough but it’s very difficult waiting.  My 9 year old daughter breaks up from school today.  I’ve told her a bit about seeing the doctor for a breast check and told her to be careful when we cuddle as I’ve had some ‘injections’ in my breast.  Don’t know what else to say.  I just feel like crying but need to be strong in front of her.


I know many people have been in this situation.  Did you find anything that helped you to calm down during the waiting period.  Also what did you say to you child/children, if anything, at this stage?

Hi cdc,
You are not alone with this, there are many others here who’ve been where you are with children & will share their experience.
If bc is confirmed, if haven’t already, do look at the main bcc site here where there is information & support on dealing with this.
It sounds like you are handling it just fine with your daughter at the mo, by giving her an explanation which she can relate to that keeps things in perspective.
In handling this, one way to deal with it is to take it a stage at a time & try not to think beyond the next appointment.
The uncertainty at this stage is so hard to handle & does send the mind into overdrive in filling in the gaps, but
it does get better when you know what you are dealing with & what is to be done about it, then you feel more in control again.
Hopefully, it won’t come to that.
Do take care
ann x

Hi cdc1811,


Re your question ‘what does prepare for mean’, I think some oncologists use this expression when they are undecided and need the results of the needle biopsy.


Mine told me that she and the medic who had done the ultrasound scan and biopsy were currently, ‘sat on the fence and need the results from the biopsy’, before telling me ‘I might want to consider bringing someone with me’ to the results appointment due the following week. In fairness this was partly because I was pushing to get an indication, even though I knew they wouldn’t be able to say for sure at hat stage, and in my own mind I had been thinking it could be a harmless fibrodeama lump.  


Fibrodeama lumps (harmless) can apparently look and feel very similar to bc lumps and even show up in the same way on an ultra sound scan, so they can only tell with the biopsy results.   


I just tried to distract myself during the week waiting for results, thinking there was no point getting too overly stressed about something which may not be. I know this is easier said than done! You might find it helps to confide in a close friend or partner so that you can talk about it rather than bottling any feelings up. Or alternatively come back to the forum!




Thanks for your comment, Clare & do use the forum for any support you need, it’s what it’s for.
Do let us know how you get on.
ann x

Claire you can ask us whatever you like so never feel like you are being a nuisance as you are far from it! 

As the others have said this is a hard time while you are in limbo waiting on results, you over analyse everything that was said and try and second guess what’s going to be the outcome, it drove me demented!! 


All you can do is wait and get through the days as best you can, we told nobody at this stage and just went through the motions of day to day life which forced me to get up and out to work as I had no choice without telling everyone why, It was so hard and I’ve never known a week drag so slowly but it came and went and even though I got a cancer diagnosis that was easier to cope with than not knowing. 


My boys were adults but we still didn’t say anything to them until we knew we could give them some facts , one was at uni and the other living with us with his fiancé but they were busy working and doing their own thing so we just kept quiet and they suspected nothing was up. The minute I was diagnosed though we told them the truth, your daughter at 9 doesn’t need to be told too much , she’s old enough to know your upset and something isn’t right but you can be selective about how much you tell her. 


Just try and keep it together and worry about crossing the bridge when you reach it, it’s all speculation at this point and you actually know nothing concrete apart from you have a lump, with a family history it will raise alarm bells, my mum died from breast cancer herself although she’s the only one in our family to have had before me but there was no suggestion it was genetic just one of those things.


Have a fun week with your daughter , eat too much chocolate and maybe swill it down with your favourite tipple too! Whatever happens is going to happen regardless of you spending the week in a state of stress, we can’t change that but we can choose how we deal with it. Take strength from your mum who has been through it ,how I would love to have been able to turn to my mum and have her guide me through it all! 


We will be here to talk to when you need us Xx Jo 



I went to see my GP 4 days after I found my lump. She said very little except that she would refer me urgently and to hope for the best. That just frightened me even more. It took three weeks for my referral appointment to arrive, and the consultant said that although biopsy results would confirm it, he was certain it was bc. Those 3 weeks  of worry were horrendous, but I carried on at work and told nobody except my husband and sister. I tried to distract myself, and we saw quite a lot of our friends, as that helped take my mind off things for a bit. The week between getting the tests and getting the biopsy results is almost completely gone from my memory. I think it was the shock. Someone said to me that it’s best to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Maybe that’s your consultant’s thought too. It’s good that you already have your MRI scan booked, as the endless waiting for one thing, then the next etc can be tough. My heart goes out to you with having a 9 year old. I think you have done exactly the right thing - tell her a bit. Mine is older, but telling her was still awful. I waited until the appointment when the consultant said he was certain but needed the biopsy results. Unfortunately I didn’t realise how much she was pinning her hopes on the biopsy proving him wrong, and she was even more upset. In hindsight I would have waited until I had the confirmation of what it was. 


Hold on to the thought that that you are breast aware, have sought medical care quickly and have family members who have come through this. You will be scared, that’s natural, but as you said it might not be bc, and if it is you’ve acted promptly. I have been amazed by how reassuring my medical team have been, and that has helped me. Thinking of you at this hard time xx

Thank you, and I will.  I reslly understand the feelings when you see anything with the word cancer in it. I still feel utter disbelief that any of that could relate to me! Just after diagnosis I kept seeing Cancer Research, MacMillan etc everywhere I looked and it was like a continual reinforcement of how different things were now.


i think your waking up at 4am is your mind processing what you are going through, whilst you are outwardly being so strong. I’m glad you’ve found a way to help get back to sleep. Good idea. Might have a look for some myself too. I find it’s getting to sleep that is harder. Once I’ve got to sleep that’s me til morning!


My daughter is 20, so it’s a very different situation to your lovely 9 year old. I didn’t get information from a book, but went with my gut feeling. I told her the day of my initial appointment after I got all the tests, as it was patently obvious that everyone thought it was cancer, and then the consultant said he was certain it was, but he still needed the biopsy. When I got home I told her, but said it was found early and perfectly treatable. She seemed ok, but is quiet about it. As she is older I didn’t want her to feel I might be hiding anything from her, but it will be different with your daughter as she is so much younger. Recently mine said she felt a lot less worried once my surgeries were finished. I don’t think she liked seeing her mum after hospital, as I have always been the healthiest of us all. When you are prepping for surgery it might help if your daughter can be involved in packing your bag, buying you a magazine etc, and feeling like she is involved in looking after you. You should also be able to get advice about telling her from your breast care nurse. Mummy’s Lump, on this website, might be a bit young for your daughter.

Hi CDC, glad you were able to get away - even brief moments that take us away from the horror are good. I’m so sorry you’ve heard yet more worrying news. The only comfort to take from this is that at least they are checking and making sure they know what everything is. You will want the peace of mind of knowing they have found everything that needs fixed. I hope you start hearing some positive news soon. 


I had had a look at the book Mummy’s Lump (I’m a teacher, so I’m interested in how things are explained to children) and I agree with you. It’s not too young, I don’t think, for your daughter, as I think it pitches things nice and calmly.  My breast care nurse offered to have a chat with my daughter if I thought it would help, so that might also be an option. I found that giving my daughter the role of mum’s protector suited her, so things like making me a cup of tea, putting on the laundry etc kept her a bit busier and made her feel she was helping.  It’s good that you are going to tell your girl soon, as she will be picking up on the preoccupation and tension you feel just now.  I told mine what they found, but that it was treatable, and acted very matter of fact. In fact, I was _ intensely _ normal for a bit!! You might also want to have a word with her teacher, or her best friend’s mum, as confidentially as you want, to let them know she is going through a hard time. That way they will keep an eye on her.


i am so sorry things are so very hard for you just now. They will get better. I don’t know if it will help, but a lovely lady on the BCC Helpline told me that when she was diagnosed (over 20 years ago!!) she had to make a conscious decision that although she had lots going on, it wasn’t happening on that particular day and she had to decide to take the best of that day, rather than let the worries of what was ahead ruin the present. It’s a difficult thing to do, but I am beginning to see what she means.


Thnking of you xx

Meant to add I’m glad you went to Maggie’s. I was like you the first time I went, but have been once since and it was fine. They are really nice. They told me about a place nearby run by a cancer charity which offers patients and family members free complementary therapies. If there is somewhere near you it might be nice for you both. Genius idea about swapping teddies! 


I have my radiotherapy planning appointment this week. Although I am glad to be finally moving forward, I am also a bit nervous about the next treatment. I think it’s just the unknowns. 

Hi Helena, thank you. It is really kind of you to share your experience, and it makes it sound more doable than I thought! Kind regards x

Thanks, Charys. I’m a gardener too, so I’m glad to hear it! I remember when I took my dad for radiotherapy there seemed to be a great sense of camaraderie in the waiting area. I will take your advice and try to calm down! 


Helena, you’re right,  it’s a great place for advice and support. I had three surgeries to get clear margins, and do have a feeling of responsibility to help others facing similar if possible.  I also have times when I read something that just brings back the reality of the situation or that sends me off on a panicky spiral! It’s good to be able to get reassurance from people who have walked ahead of me.

Hi Black Cat

Sorry for such a late reply. I’ve been laid low with a virus which I seemed to get the day after I was back in the hospital for further ultrasounds and biopsies. Think I was also finally overwhelmed by stress especially after telling my daughter. Thankfully it went pretty well. Knowing that both my Mum and a good friend have both been treated and come out the other has helped to reassure her. She doesn’t like me talking about my BC but I think that’s understandable. Did talking with someone help your daughter? I might go down that route at some stage as maybe she would find it easier talking to someone independent of the family. How did your appointment go regarding the radiotherapy? Have you started yet? If so I hope you are coping well with it and not having side effects. Been thinking of you. I am still not certain if radiotherapy will be in my treatment plan but will find out on Monday at 8.30am (big gulp!) when I get my treatment plan and schedule. Everything seems to be speeding up since the MRI and biopsies confirmed cancer in both breasts. Also the tumour on right seems to be twice as big as originally suspected. I’m trying to stay calm and it’s been really helpful talking things through on here and with my Mum. I do hope you are ok. Let me know how you’re getting on.

PS I was a full-time teacher before my daughter was born and I agree the Mummy’s Lump book was a good starting point even for a 9 year old. Xx