God will heal us all.

I am 21 years old. I have a lump in my left breast for 2 years until now. It sometimes hurt until now. My doctor said It is cyst. I also have ovarian cyst on my left ovary. I have a family history of breast cancer, the sister of my grandma had it. I am afraid because my right breast now also hurt just like my left breast. And my left breast hurt more when I am going to have my period and when I have it. I also feel like my lump becomes compacted. I don’t know, I am not sure maybe I am just overthinking. Please reply. Thank you! God will heal us whatever we are going through.

Hi Erica

Breast cancer is rare in your age group but any change in the breast needs to be checked by an experienced professional. Even GPs, with all their training, will refer you on if they can’t be certain because they recognise their expertise isn’t sufficient.

I would advise you to make an appointment and see what your doctor says. Breasts do behave strangely during the menstrual cycle (the moment my breasts got sore, I knew my irregular period would start 14 days later. It never failed). The fact that both breasts hurt is a good sign, suggesting hormone activity. But it’s always wise to get checked.

Meantime, stay away from the temptations of Google. You don’t know what’s wrong, so how can Google? 

You are going to have to rely on medical science here - it’s the only way to be sure you are properly diagnosed and treated appropriately IF there’s a problem. Incidentally, a family history usually refers to mothers and sisters, possibly aunts, but nothing as remote as your family link. My mother had breast cancer twice. I had three aunts with breast cancer. Tests showed there was no genetic link. So I think you can consider yourself relatively safe.

I wish you well xx

Dear friend and fellow worrier,

I would ask for a referral to a breast clinic. Do you live in the United Kingdom or somewhere else? there are clinics who can give advice to women who have a family history of breast cancer. I met someone in hospital who had had preventative mastectomies and reconstruction as she was so worried about getting breast cancer. That reduced her chance of getting it, but she was in hospital because one of her implants led to a breast infection. So there are risks if you go for that kind of reconstruction using silicon.

By the way, one distant woman relative isn’t necessarily a family history as so many women get it, it’s about one in ten I think by the time you get to about 80. It’s only 1 in about 100 at 20 but doubles every ten years. When I got it at 47 the risk was 1 in 50