Feeling very anxious

I recently felt a lump in my left breast whilst lying down. I saw the GP and she referred me to the breast clinic. I get married in 12 days and I’m so worried about the outcome from my appointment at the breast clinic. I’m hoping to be seen before my wedding day as I don’t want this hanging over my head but equally don’t want to know if I could possibly have breast cancer cause I won’t be able to enjoy my day. The waiting is awful, I’m trying to think positive but it’s so hard to do

Hi ashy

I’m so sorry you find yourself here but you’re in the right place. The nurses’ helpline is brilliant if you want someone to talk to and you get the voice of experience in these forums.

You’ve had a huge shock to your system and it’s bound to cast a cloud over everything. That is normal. It’s appalling timing but don’t feel bad if you find yourself dwelling more on have I/haven’t I than you do on wedding preparations.

The NHS works with a two-week promise between referral and first appointment so, as you said ‘recently’, it’s likely you’ll be seen before your wedding. An important fact to dwell on is that the vast majority of breast referrals turn out to be something harmless. Unfortunately our minds immediately jump to worst case scenario but you won’t have any idea till you’re seen at the clinic. Although I feel a bit of an old hand in terms of breast cancer, I can well remember discovering my breast lump in my 30s. It turned out to be a fibroadenoma, which is like a growth of gristle in the breast. Sometimes it’s left there; if it’s large, it may be removed.

Please keep off Google (it’s unreliable, can’t be directly related to your symptoms and generally causes distress (in my case, mild terror)) and do stop poking and prodding that lump because it won’t vanish overnight and it will get tender! It’s pointless advising you not to worry but try to keep things in perspective. Only an expert can diagnose breast cancer (hence your GP referring you)  and less than 1 case in 8 is actually breast cancer. Try to throw yourself into those wedding arrangements and hopefully you’ll have a wonderful day, all the more appreciated after such a scare.

If, by bad fortune, it does turn out to be breast cancer, don’t panic. It gets a bad press, the treatment is worse than the condition but it’s all manageable and, again, 80%+ of cases caught early lead to a full cure with no later recurrence. That is hugely encouraging, given the bad press breast cancer gets.

I wish you all the best and congratulations on your marriage xx