Hi, new member awaiting specialist clinic tests

Hi,
I’m a married mum of an 18 yr old, living in the central South of the country. Yesterday I felt a new and rather large lump had appeared in my left breast - somewhat tender to the touch. Hubby reckons it definitely wasn’t there a few days ago. I’ve only just come out of hospital where I’d been operated on for endometrial ablation (lining of womb removed as was bleeding all the time) and just recovering from that.
Today, saw my GP and she’s referred me on to the specialist breast care clinic at the hospital for next Wednesday, but I’m just so ‘floored’ by all of these health situations all at once.
GP says she’s fairly certain it will be something non-threatening, but I’m a great one for certainty so very much hope to just ‘be’ on here for a while and chat with people and find out what I can.
Many thanks
Amber

Hi Amber

Sorry to see you “in the waiting room”, that’s such a horrible place to be. You might find it helpful to read some of the publications on this site about breast awareness and the sort of things your lump COULD be, other than cancer. Some people get cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs that can be aspirated with a very fine needle to drain the fluid, and then the lump goes away. Cysts are VERY common. If it’s any help, the very large majority of lumps that people go to breast clinics with are NOT cancer. I’ve read 8 or 9 out of 10 lumps are benign breast conditions which are NOT cancer, so you have a very good chance of an excellent result from your trip to the clinic.

Depending on how your clinic is run, you may have one or several investigations. I can share my own experience if that would help. When I went to my local clinic after GP referral I had a mammogram, which is uncomfortable and undignified but not painful. I then went into another room for an ultrasound, where they look at the area of the breast that is giving concern, and also look at anything else that the mammogram might have shown. They also look at lymph nodes in the armpit and around the chest. I found it very reassuring that they took so long at this stage, because I wanted them to be thorough. I know that I am prone to cysts, as are a lot of women in their forties, so I wasn’t surprised to see lots of shadows on the ultrasound screen. They then used a very fine needle to draw off the fluid from these areas, and for three of them that was very successful. I asked whether they needed to send the fluid off for testing but I was assured that once the cyst had been drained, and as long as there wasn’t blood in the fluid, it was fine and could safely be poured down the sink! (To reassure you, the needle is rather alarming to look at but it’s very fine and so while it’s not pleasant it’s less painful than a wasp sting and doesn’t hurt afterwards like a sting does.)

Unfortunately for me, the fourth area they tried to drain didn’t give up any fluid, so the doctor did a core biopsy to take a sample for investigation in the lab. This is more uncomfortable so they will usually give a local anaesthetic. Having the anaesthetic is not as bad as having anaesthetic at the dentist. They then make a small cut on the breast to insert a thicker needle which is used to take samples of the suspicious area. That is sent off to the lab and your results will be back in a week or so. You get a steristrip and dressing, and it can help to take paracetamol for the discomfort for a few days.

Another thing, don’t automatically assume that if you have a core biopsy done that you definitely have cancer. I have had two done, and although the first was confirmed as cancer, the second one I had showed that the second lump was just normal breast changes in a woman my age, and that it was absolutely fine and nothing to do with cancer.

The waiting is the horrible thing, but I hope this has given you an idea of what might happen at the clinic.

Hi Amber,

So sorry you have all this worry. I hope all will be well. Difficult not to worry in these situations.

I had my core biopsies (3) last week and finally get my results tomorrow

Hoping all goes well for you. Do let me know.

Hi Amber, this must be very difficult for you, especially on top of everything else. Ditto everything Choccie said about the procedure and about most lumps being harmless.

Try to keep your mind busy in the meantime, as perhaps you are still resting from the ablation. But it’s very natural to feel scared and tearful at times as you wait. This is a good place to let those feelings out.

Thanks for the kind and helpful words so far. Yup, scared, not least because I’m a carer for hubby and son and can’t afford to be out of action.

Amazing what you start recollecting - that breast has always looked a bit different to the other one. “Should I have worried about this earlier?”, etc. But there hasn’t been a lump before now :frowning:

amber - hold tight. The waiting is hell. And yes, your breasts prob were slightly different… that’s called normal (!) so don’t go trying to second guess yourself, or think you should have noticed earlier. If your other half hadn’t noticed the lump, then you ‘know’ it’s not you being blind!

All advice you’ve had so far is excellent, but you will stress and worry regardless. Just believe us - this part is the worst. Chances are very high that you will be absolutely fine, it’ll be a cyst or similar - but regardless of outcome, once you know what you’re dealing with, all will become easier to deal with.

Sophie xxxx

Hi, I found a lump on the outside of my right breast this morning. Saw the doc this afternoon who thinks it’s benign, but has reffered me to hosp for further investigation. She said it’s approx 2cm by 2cm and moves around which is a good sign, However can’t help but worry. All i keep doing is feeling it to make sure it hasn’t changed. Also can’t beleve I haven’t felt it b4 now, as I have not been blessed with the largests of breast’s.
She said I can expect to be seen within 2 weeks.
So will wait to hear from the hosp about an appt and keep my fingers and toes crossed, not just for me, but for all you ladies out there.
Big Hugs to you all. XxX

Thanks - good to hear that this may be the worst bit. I’m used to coping with most things (I’m disabled - and work as an adviser on autism and disability some of the time) but this has hit me so hard and I’m struggling to know how to cope.
Keeping everyone in my thoughts…

Tigermoo, benign conditions like cysts can pop up very suddenly, one day nothing, the next a very noticeable lump. So let’s hope that’s all it is. They’re common in the years around menopause. It’s still important to have them checked. Large cysts are often drained.

Tigermoo, everything I said to Amber applies to you.

I had the same thing when I was 41. One morning there it was, a hard mobile lump just behind my nipple. VERY alarming. I had a mammogram and ultrasound, they stuck in a very fine needle (less painful than a wasp but more alarming) and aspirated the fluid. And THAT WAS THAT.

I asked whether they needed to send it off for tests and was told that no, if the fluid is normal cyst fluid (can be any colour from pale yellow to muddy brown) and doesn’t have traces of blood in it, they just chuck it down the sink and that’s the end of it. And that indeed WAS the end of it, no further problems. I found more lumps at the end of Nov just gone which also turned out to be cysts, but unfortunately hiding in among them was another lump that wasn’t a cyst. The doctor said that it was good I had gone with the cysts as it meant the other one was identified fairly early.

You’re doing the right thing getting it checked out, but it is very likely to be a cyst or other benign breast change. I won’t say don’t worry because we all do, but try to take some reassurance that it is very likely to be fine.

Everything crossed for you.

Hang in there, Amber. I’m sure you know already how hard these waiting and not knowing periods are, and I’m also sure that doesn’t make it any easier for you.

Cheryl

Blimey, one thing’s for sure - if it was terrible news I couldn’t actually be any more scared than I am now. Not even a logical sort of scared, really. Not at all sure how I’m going to get through tomorrow morning without being sick with nerves.

Amber, if you’re so very on edge, can you bring someone along with you? You might find it helps to have someone else to listen to what’s being explained about what they’re doing.

Just a small word of warning - if they need to do a core biopsy or other sampling, you’re going to be in for more waiting. You could STILL end up with an all clear at the end of it, but be prepared to have to wait yet again.

Best of luck for tomorrow morning.

Lovely hubby is going with me, thankfully. Been awake much of the night. Urk.
Thanks everyone…

Hi Amber

I had an ultrasound yesterday and thankfully I am all OK I just wanted to let you know that the consultant said because I had had quite a lot going on with my gyneacologist and had some procedures done (as well as bleeding for the past 6 months) that that is probably why I had the tender lumps, I was also told that the fact my breast felt sore is usually a good thing as the cancerous lumps dont hurt so I am hoping you get the same result and conclusion as I did - it was such a relief yesterday as the last 2 weeks have been hell not knowing and all of the what ifs…

Good Luck x

Well, I’m back, and none the wiser. I’ve been poked, prodded, stared at, examined, fine-needled biopsied twice, large biopsy twice, mammogrammed and ultrasounded. Consultant (highly experienced) baffled, as fine needle thingy shows no cancer in the lump but all the scans etc show what seems to be a 2.3cm lump that looks just like cancer. He either missed the mark with the needled biopsy or it’s something other than cancer, so we wait another week for a deciding answer from the main biopsies. Radiographer says there’s no clear sign of trouble in the lymph nodes but a couple were borderline normal so she needle biopsied those.
Ow, I’m sore. And confused. But we shall wait and see. Not sure if I think this is good news or not, really. Could be worse, either way, I guess??

Please don’t think I’m ignoring other people’s comments - brain is just totally fried from this morning - you may get more out of me later on when I’ve had a large cuppa…

oh amber , the waiting is horrible . im thinking of you. try and stay strong xxx

Hi Amber

Sorry you’re still waiting, but I hate to say I told you so… The core biopsy should be fairly accurate, so you should finally get some info when those results get back.

As for the nodes, I was told that I had slightly enlarged nodes but the doc said that that could also be in response to being prodded and poked so much!

And stick something strong in that tea!

(I’m still waiting for mine too, so I know JUST where you’re at, and it sucks, doesn’t it.)

Certainly does! When you think how quickly a couple of weeks holiday seems to go, or even a couple of normal weeks. If feel like my waiting has gone on forever!

Fingers crossed for you Amber xx

'ere! I’ve had a thought - just thinking out loud so do ignore me. Sudden appearance of reasonable size hard lump, seems to have grown fast, left breast, fine needle thingy says may not be cancerous, and I’m pre-menopausal age 47 - wonder if it’s a phyllodes tumour? (Google is sometimes my friend and I remember reading something about them). That would fit the pattern of those exactly. That would mean surgery, of course, and possibly radiotherapy to stop it coming back if it is, but not chemo I think.
I have to say my social worker has been fantastic today - rang up to say she was available to talk with me any time and would go with me to next appointment if I needed it. Wonderful!
Where’s that cuppa?
Thanks for letting me ramble on a bit. It helps a lot.