heavy left breast and lumps - VERY SCARED

Hi all,

I joined the forum to get some reassurances and hear from some other people in similar situations. I suffer with really bad health anxiety and so I am just trying to manage it at the moment.

I’m 24F and I noticed for the past few months that my left breast has been feeling heavier and I suppose larger than usual. i have also had more nipple sensitivity on that side. I have had a slight pain on the left hand side of that breast also when I press on a certain area. the breast  feels quite uncomfortable. I didn’t find any lumps at that time but maybe I wasn’t looking as well as I should have.

I went to the GP about this and she performed a breast exam. To my surprise, she found lumps in both breasts. She said this is probably nothing to worry about but she said she would refer me to the breast clinic for my anxiety. She could also feel the heaviness on the LHS.

Now I am really panicking and super scared as to these lumps. I didn’t know they were there but it feels like the combination of this, the left breast heaviness and ache and sensitivity, and also the left arm pain I have means that I have BC. It feels like there’s no other explanation to be causing all of these symptoms.

I am soooo scared and I have no idea what to do. I’ve never been in this situation and I have nobody to talk to. I don’t want to worry my family and friends and I feel really alone. I keep wanting to cry. I know I am young and understand that that is on my side. I don’t want to devalue other peoples experiences as I know there are other people going through far worse things and I don’t want to come across like I am whining. 

thank you for any advice or experiences anyone can give xx 

Hi Amelia , the vast majority of breast changes are not breast cancer and it’s also very unusual at your age . It is much more likely to be a condition like fibroadenoma or cysts . It’s good your GP has referred you to re-assure you but it doesn’t sound like they are unduly worried .Please post here anytime you need to talk . There is also an ask the nurses section and a helpline manned by lovely nurses which will be open tomorrow . Best wishes Jill x

Hi @Amelia_98  - and welcome to the forum from me too, though obviously I’m sorry you find yourself here. You’ve already had wise words from Jill but I didn’t want to read your post and not stop by to send you a big hug and echo what Jill said - that we are here to help you get through this worrying time. 

Sometimes it’s easier to chat on here anonymously than to talk to our family and friends, but I wonder if you also have a friend or family member who you could confide in and who will hold your hand through this.

The waiting time is tough, but please try to stay away from google. Dr Google really doesn’t know you or your symptoms and only serves to worry us. As Jill says, your GP wasn’t concerned, but it’s very usual for GPs to refer people to the breast clinic just to be 100% sure. There are many other explanations for lumps, most are harmless.

Please don’t feel you need to apologise in any way, in no way was your post “whining”, far from it. It came across as someone scared and seeking advice, which is exactly what this forum is for.

Sorry, I’ve waffled on. Please stay in touch and chat as often as you like, or as Jill suggests do give the lovely nurses on here a call, or message them via the nurses’ board. Evie xx

Hi Amelia

You have some excellent advice from Jill and Evie but I wanted to add my own slant from personal experience. Decades ago, I had a ‘vast’ lump that was very tender to the touch. My doctor was certain it was harmless and referred me on to a breast consultant as a matter of routine. The breast consultant wasn’t concerned and was correct. I had a large fibroadenoma (a benign growth of gristly tissue) that was removed. 

Between 60 and 90% of referrals to breast clinics are of benign lumps. Our minds automatically jump to breast cancer as the only possible explanation. But there are others. Just don’t start googling your symptoms. Google is disastrous in this context because it has no filter - you might be lucky and find an informative site but the odds are greater that you will find things that terrify you and actually have no relevance to your symptoms. Trust me, I learnt the hard way!

Pain isn’t usually associated with breast cancer, if that helps, and of course breast cancer is quite unusual at your age. So you have things going for you! I’m not diagnosing, of course; just pointing out the alternatives I didn’t know at your age and only found out when I needed to know. Fortunately, at the time of my fibroadenoma, Google didn’t exist. I find it odd, in these days of widespread public information, that there still isn’t good education about breast health done in schools so that the fear of breast cancer is balanced by all the other possible explanations. You may just have lumpy breasts, in which case, ask a nurse to teach you how to examine your breasts routinely (once a month, not every few hours).

As for not worrying your family and friends, I’m afraid that’s what they are there for. Maybe they won’t be worried, maybe they know enough to reassure you. But going through this on your own isn’t a good idea. Choose a family member or sensible close friend and share your experience so you have some support. A huge part of the breast cancer experience is emotional wellbeing - that’s why no one will dismiss you as a time waster as you suggest. We’ve all experienced this almost overwhelming fear before diagnosis. At this stage, it’s a level playing field - we all feel the same. My advice would be to practise relaxation, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, running, whatever can occupy your mind and help you reduce your anxiety. There’s Calm and Headspace, NHS-endorsed apps and there are loads of videos on YouTube. I’m a fan of Progressive Hypnosis’s stuff.

Wishing you all the best,

Jan x