Can anyone help - what to expect at appointment?

I have my appointment at the hospital/breast clinic on Friday (referred last week having had small hard lump in armpit for a couple of months and family history of bc) and am freaking out a bit. Think if I knew what to expect it might help calm me down and prepare myself.

Will they do a full exam or just look at the lump? If they think the armpit lump is not suspcious will they check my breasts anyway? I didn’t let the dr check them as I totally wasn’t expecting it (it was just a ‘oh by the way this isn’t anything to worry about, is it?’ having gone about something else) and it was a young male dr and I just kind of panicked (really stupid I know), so I’m regretting that a bit now, as have of course been prodding and poking and imagining all sorts. So I’d like them to check them regardless of whether the armpit lump is anything, I’m due to start having mammograms at 40 but that’s 6 years away… And do they just have a feel, or do the other tests routinely, or only if they feel something…? And if they feel something do they only scan the thing they feel?

Also I’m breastfeeding, will this make a difference to what they do?

It’s all going round and round in my head and the uncertainty is making it worse! Would appreciate a bit of help!

Hi Lou Lou, I don’t have a family history of breast cancer and my tumour was detected by a routine mammogram, however,I thought you might find it helpful to know what happened when I went to the breast clinic, it won’t be the same everywhere of course, but it will give you a fairly good idea of what to expect!

I took my husband with me and we ‘checked in’ with the receptionist and then sat in the waiting room. About 20 minutes after my appointment time, the lady who was to do the mammogram came and got me, (no husbands, for that part) she pointed out on the pictures of the mammograms they already had, what it was they were concerned about and then did three more mammograms. After that, it was back to the waiting room for a while, before we both got taken to the doctors room. She showed me again what they were looking at and then did an ultrasound of the suspicious area, confirming the lump.

She then, with the assistance of ultrasound and a specialist nurse, took a needle core biopsy. She demonstrated the sort of clicking noise it made first, gave me a local anaesthetic near the lump (that was virtually painless) and then once she had checked the anaesthetic had worked, took the needle biopsy while using the ultrasound to be sure of getting the exact spot in the lump, that didn’t hurt at all.

They took plenty of time and explained everything very carefully and encouraged me to ask any questions I had. I then moved to the Nurses room and an appointment was made for one week later, the day after the ‘multidisciplinary team’ meet to discuss the results of the biopsy. More time was given for questions and lots of reassurance, they were all absolutely lovely! 


Im not sure what difference breastfeeding will make, be sure to tell them of course. They may well want to examine you but if you are anything like I was when I was feeding, you breasts are probably a bit lumpy and bumpy anyway.! I only saw female medical staff but of course you may get a male but they will be experienced specialist so you will be well looked after! 


I think I was at the hospital for about 1½ hours. 

Amanda x

Oh Lou, the worst case scenario, we all do it, human nature I guess! Try to stay away from General Googling, this site, Macmillan and Cancer Research are fairly safe territory. Try not to dwell on things you don’t know and put your faith in your medical team, be assured that if it turns out to be anything, they are going to everything in their power and with a considerable arsenal of weapons, to make sure your son has his Mummy!


It will be interesting to see what they can do while you still feeding, no doubt they have various ways of getting the information they need! Hopefully it won’t take four hours, sometimes there is a bit of waiting around between things, so that can add time. Let us know how you get on tomorrow, good luck with it tomorrow!


Amanda x

Any news, Lou Lou?


Amanda x

Hi Lou Lou,

I’m new here and have my first appointment at the clinic later today. To say I’m bricking it is an understatement. I’m also breastfeeding, and initially went to the Drs thinking I had thrush with pains in just one breast. He found a lump and I’ve been beside myself with worry ever since. 

How did you get on at the clinic? I too am wondering whether what they do will be any different.