Got some questions

Hi guys. I’m 23, great aunt had BC in her sixties.

In November 2017, I realised my right breast had been hurting. I don’t know how long the pain had been going on for, it just was gradually getting worse. I went to the GP, he asked me to check if it was cyclical. It wasn’t, so I went back, was referred to a breast clinic and they examined me late December.

They found P2 thickening on the spot that hurts. This spot is to the right of my nipple on the side (my right). I don’t really know what that means? They said it was hormonal and advised me to take evening primrose oil.

In the first week of January, I found a pea sized hard lump on a different area of the breast, above the nipple. It feels like it is part of the ‘thickening’ but also feels more defined than the other ‘lumps’. It’s really hard to find and takes a lot of fumbling about. I went back to the GP and she said she couldn’t find it. After more monitoring, I realised the lump is constantly there, it’s just hard to find. I don’t know if it’s a scary lump or not. It’s not rock solid, it just feels very defined and I don’t think it moves. I don’t know if the thickening is masking it or what is going on?

Went back to the GP two weeks ago and decided I needed another referral because I’m a worrier. I thought I got a long referral to examine fibrocystic breasts. Got a letter today and realised it had been changed to “fast track suspected breast cancer referral”. The letter says “I don’t suspect breast cancer but I expect the patient to be seen within 2 weeks”. The doctor also noted my anxiety in the letter. This GP didn’t check my breast but said it was reasonable of me to ask to go back.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading. I read about Kris, founder of coppafeel, who was 23 so diagnosed too late with stage 4 cancer. Also read on Reddit about a 26 year old with stage 4 breast cancer who was told by her doctor “they think its environmental because more women my age are getting it now”. Also found on breast clinics a lot of ladies saying pain was their symptom and nothing showed on ultrasound/mammogram initially. This made me want to be as safe as possible.

I also read that if the pain is focal and is getting worse, it might be cancer. The pain is focal but I can’t tell if it’s getting worse. There’s also different types of pain in different areas of the breast, such as just under the nipple, and to the left of the breast where I’m not sure if it’s another lump or an asymmetrical rib poking out.

It’s hard to tell if it’s cyclical because I have irregular periods. The pain does get worse and then subside and then get worse again but it seems to have nothing to do with my periods.

I’ve also been having tenderness and pain in my right armpit in a focal spot (no lump) and I read that if it is cancer, it might be spreading to the lymph nodes. I’ve also been having weird stabbing pains on my right nipple, pain of the ribs (I get recurrent costochondritis - which is how I know the breast pain is different and not muscle pain). I don’t know if any of this is due to more prodding than usual though.

My right breast feels heavier and just…‘weird’. It’s always been bigger but it just feels weird, I can’t describe it. I can’t tell if I’m imagining it or not.

I spoke to my sister who said she’s been having unilateral boob pain for years. Her GP said it was hormonal, no referral.

I have some questions.

  1. Why do they only ultrasound one part of the breast? Can I ask them to ultrasound the whole breast?

  2. If I do have fibrocystic breast, can I ask them to monitor me? I feel like I’m really young to have fibrocystic breasts. Sounds like it’s more common in people who are 30+.

  3. If it’s all clear, after this, should I push for a second opinion? The reason I’m so scared is because it’s only in one breast, and the armpit as well.

Thanks everyone for your time.

Hi Scaredsorry,
You’ve done all you can to get this seen to & it’s good you are so vigilant & have been referred back to the breast clinic.
BC in anyone your age is rare, so it’s most likely related to something far more common.
It’s also good you’ve been seen already & it was clear. It is also right you have been referred under the 2 week rule, so please don’t read anything into this, it is standard procedure for any breast change. Most women here are referred this way & usually get the all clear.
The clinic is not just for bc, but is for anything breast related that needs investigation
I know you need answers & the clinic is the only place to provide this, so as we say a lot on here - as we’ve been through it - it’s best to step away from google, as you won’t find an answer, the info won’t be relevant to you & will only be even more scary, often for no good reason.
If you need to talk it through, do ring the helpline here.
Do take your questions to the appointment with you as you do need to be clear about all of this.
Do come back if you need to chat further & let us know how you get on.
ann x

Thank you. I had a pelvic ultrasound today and they suspect Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Could this explain my symptoms of pain? Out of whack hormones? I also stupidly googled and found an increased risk of breast cancer. Studies do contradict each other, but now I’m scared. 

Sorry, some of that message got cut off. “Thank you Ann. You’ve been very reassuring. I will ring the helpline I think.”

After googling some more about fibrocystic breasts and PCOS, I found this: Hopefully this explains what is going on with me.