Can a tumour grow that fast???

I was diagnosed as having a 24mm lump grade 2 and they needled a lymph node which came back normal. It all looked good


Had the lumpectomy and the sizing had gone to 42mm grade 3 they need more margins and the lymph node they original needle tested was actually positive so I need node clearance. 


I am devastated and scared if the tumour has GROWN that much in the weeks between my ultra sound and mammo images to the surgery. The NHS staff say  "No it will have always been that size we just couldn’t see it clearly as we thought on the images"


So I went to a facebook group for breast cancer and have been told by 2 women that theirs grew from 3cm to 7cm in just 2/3 weeks and they were told this too so one was given chemo to reduce it. Im terrified that the bits (margins) left in there are growing and spreading and my lymph nodes and getting more and more effected…as each day passes… 


The NHS say they cannot operate on me to remove the margins and my lymph node clearance until 31 July! (a whole month) So I have gone private and the private team want me to start chemo first and do surgery when chemo is finished.


Now I am learning about oncology scores and chemo and reoccurrences and my NHS team seem very guarded now with me. When it looked all positive they were all “Early detection” “All very treatable” but since my follow up revealed all that mess they’re not smiling and look sad and serious and its making me miserable. 

Hi Liz,

Most often it’s just down to the biopsy finalising the results, so sometimes tumour grade & size can change from initial mammo or ultrasound, as scans may not see the whole picture. Mine changed from grade 1 to grade 2 from the initial biopsy to the final results, although the size remained the same. 

From what I’ve seen here, especially with lobular bc, size can change dramatically, as it can be more diffuse rather than a discrete lump.

From my understanding, bc is not fast growing, but tends to be a slow growing & rather ‘indolent,’ tumour so I’ve read, so the change in size is most likely just down to the full picture emerging. 

However, I certainly feel for you, as it must have been a shock to get something you were not expecting & to have such a big change to the treatment plan.

Try not to read anything into how the team is presenting to you. In these situations we can become hyper vigilant to any professional expression & it may well have nothing to do with your case at all, but is just one of those things.

I remember trying to read professional expressions, but my fears were never borne out. At my last mammo the radiographer wanted to take another view, so I immediately thought she’s seen a problem & the bc is back, but it wasn’t, she just wanted to make sure she got a good view of the clips from another angle!

It may also be an idea to post on ‘ask our nurses’ or ring the helpline if you feel you need to talk things through.

Sending hugs

ann x





Just to add Liz, have just seen about you going privately in your post & that they’re recommending a different plan. In light of this, has it been discussed with your nhs team & which team will you stay with?

You can always ask for a second opinion. 

ann x


Hi Liz1969


Thought I would let you know that at diagnosis my tumour was just over 1cm in size, and after surgery it measured over 2cm, and was more than double the size that it was initially measured at. The surgeon explained that this is because no imagery could actually see the whole tumour clearly for various reasons including dense breast tissue and smaller areas of tumour just not showing up. Unfortunately, BC is really sneaky and it does appear to have invisible man status on occasion.


Also, I had a further operation to clear margins and this had to take place after I had made a reasonable recovery from the first surgery, but it also has to be done within a certain timescale, which mine was.